South Africa’s commercial plantations are managed sustainably, just like any crop. Just as maize and wheat are planted for food, so we plant trees for wood and paper products. Forest products are biodegradable, reusable and, when managed sustainably, renewable.
Only 9% of the total plantation is harvested every year. And because the industry plants around 262,000 new trees every day, there will always be trees maturing each year.
Even though you can make paper from recycled fibre, you need a regular “dose” of virgin fibre. This is because paper fibres can only be recycled up to seven times. Thereafter the fibre loses its strength.
You don’t have to use trees to make paper – the first mill in the country used straw. Historically, paper was made from old rags! Some paper mills also use bagasse – sugar cane waste – in their papermaking.