Although it seems like going paperless would help to save trees that is not the case in Australia. Using less paper hurts the Australian paper industry because industrial forests help to power its revenues. 82% of the wood harvested for the manufacturing of pulp, paper, or paperboard comes from planted forests.
76% of the planted forests used to create paper products are privately owned. There are about 2 million hectares of industrial forests currently in use in the country in 2018, a figure which is about 10% higher than it was in 2010.
When people use less paper, then the growers plant fewer trees. That means less time is spent on forestry management because it is less profitable. In 2010, about 171 million tons of forest carbon stock helped to contribute to the overall global forestry mix. They contributed to the prevention of soil erosion, improved water quality by fighting salinity, and provided a natural habitat for wildlife and birds.
Despite an emphasis on using less paper, 8.6% more logs are harvested each year compared to figures released in 2008.
Revenues quoted in the statistics below are in Australian dollars.
Interesting Australian Paper Industry Statistics
#1. The industry turnover in Australia was $9.91 billion in 1992-93, which was around 1% of the GDP. That is the latest available data for this figure. (Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources)
#2. The wood and paper industry in Australia employs more than 82,000 people each year. Sawmilling, woodchips, wooden furniture, logging, and forestry employment statistics are included in that figure. Most of the jobs supported are in regional or rural areas. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
#3. The Australian paper industry generates about $940 million in exports each year. Each mill creates at least 3.5 additional jobs across the country. (Australian Forest Products Association)
#4. Australia has a paper and paperboard recovery rate through recycling programs of 73.7%, which is higher than either Europe or the United States, which are at 71.5% and 66.8% respectively. (Australian Forest Products Association)
#5. The emission reductions achieved by the Australian paper industry offer the equivalent of removing almost 40,000 cars from the road. That’s enough energy to power almost 150,000 homes in the country. (Australian Forest Products Association)
#6. Total revenues earned from pulp, paper, and paperboard manufacturing in Australia total about $3 billion each year. Since 2014, the industry has been contracting at a rate of 2% each year. (IBIS World)
#7. There are currently 142 firms active in the manufacturing of pulp, paper, or paperboard in Australia, producing about 3,300 positions in these businesses. (IBIS World)
#8. About 10 million hectares of forest are currently certified under the Australian Forest Certification Scheme. Another 900,000 hectares are certified under the Forest Stewardship Council. (Fairfax Media)
#9. Over half of all the fiber used in Australia to make paper products comes from recycled materials. (Fairfax Media)
#10. 95% of the products used by the Australian paper industry come from certified wood fibers. Direct emissions were down 1.6% in 2016, while energy intensity dropped by 5.6% over the course of the year. (Australian Forest Products Association)
#11. Over 76% of the catalogs, magazines, and newspapers published in Australia are recycled each year, higher than the 73% rate achieved by the United States. (Australian Forest Products Association)
#12. Bioenergy produced by the Australian paper industry generated 11% of the countries renewable electricity supply. This level of support allows it to potentially access the $100 million Australian Bioenergy Fund in the future. (Clean Energy Finance Corporation)
#13. Local production by the Australian paper industry replaced about $4.5 billion in imports each year. (IndustryEdge)
#14. Catalog and magazine paper machine conversion replaces $140 million worth of imports each year. (IndustryEdge)
#15. The per capita consumption of paper products in Australia is 146kg per year. That places the country 17th on the list of top consumers. Luxembourg has the highest per capita at 277kg, followed by Germany (251kg), Austria (249kg), Slovenia (247kg), and Belgium (241kg). (Environmental Paper Network)
#16. About 50% of the recycled paper produced by the Australian paper industry is used domestically. The remainder is typically exported to Asia. (Environmental Paper Network)
Australian Paper Industry Trends and Analysis
Through at least the year 2022, the consumption of paper and paperboard products in Australia is expected to fall. Some segments of the industry, such as packaging and tissue paper, will help to offset some of these losses. Combined with the revenues earned in the export market and the increased interest in recycled products, the Australia paper industry will maintain the status quo over this time.
Look for the industry to continue developing new ways to offer recycled materials while encouraging additional paper consumption. 78% of the pulp used by the industry is chemical pulp, with a 6.5% rise occurring in the 2017 season to promote higher revenue levels. . About 16% of the total pulp in use is held by imports at this time.
The paper industry in Australia is going through its own green revolution. With improved forestry management techniques used, new industrial forests planted, and a robust future revenue profile, this industry is poised to become a global leader in sustainability, recycling, and emissions management.
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