Thursday, March 31, 2011

Save a Tree? No, Save a Landfill.

Being a good, born-and-raised ‘sconnie, I am more than passingly familiar with “Trees for Tomorrow”, an independent educational facility in Eagle River, which teaches how trees are grown and managed as a crop in Cheesetopia.

This is apparently secret information.

Again this morning I encountered one of those “save a tree; don’t print unless you have to” warnings. Since I have this secret information about Trees for Tomorrow, garnered from Mr. John Amburgy, my biology teacher at Hortonville High, I don’t worry about the trees used to make paper. Or the ones some of us saw down and put in our homes in December. Not any more than I worry about the corn stalk that yielded the vegetable I ate with my chicken breast last night.

Trees, like corn, peas, soybeans, and a bazillion other things, are carefully managed as a cash crop. As trees are sawn (note to the picky: sawn is the past participle of saw; and that weapon so often written about is a sawn-off shotgun, not a sawed-off shotgun), new trees are planted to replace them in an endless cycle. Anybody who’s ever taken the time to learn about how our state’s farmers use corn has learned a great lesson in advanced recycling.

I know, it’s more emotionally appealing to say “Save a tree!!” than to say “Save a landfill!!”

Now that I live in Dane County, and go to all those foie gras soirees thrown constantly by the lefties, where only organic food (there’s another kind?) and cage-free chicken and pesticide-free veggies are served, I know it’s impolitic to bring up this point about trees being a crop. Cutting down trees is bad, and they don’t want to hear my crypto-conservative rant about trees being a managed crop.

And now that Governor I’mInCharge is on the scene, and recycling funds will soon be a thing of the past, allowing private business to completely take over the landfill industry in Wisconsin, I guess I really don’t have to worry about adding unnecessary content to landfills. By wasting paper I’ll be helping to create jobs.

It’s all good. Print away.


  1. Paper-making creates a great deal of pollution, though (as anyone who has spent much time in Wisconsin Rapids or Nekoosa can attest). The real environmental concern about saving paper is not for the trees (which are easily replaceable), but the papermaking process.

  2. and that weapon so often written about is a sawn-off shotgun, not a sawed-off shotgun

    Nixnux if you're on the wrong end when the trigger is pulled, but good point...

  3. "Did you know the paper industry plants 1.7 million trees every day and that American forests have increased by 12 million acres since 1987?"--American Paper Council blurb

    Jill: how much "pollution"? Of what kind? Is it, or is it not, remediated by the mills?

    Inquiring minds, and all that.

  4. Finally, it's good to note that you concur with what is ALREADY in effect: private industry owns and manages all Wisconsin landfills (for practical purposes.)

    That's due to Tony "the Fish" Earl.

  5. Since Dad29 asked, the paper industry directly releases several million pounds of toxic substances in Wisconsin per year. There are many types -- both air (including nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxides and particulates) and water pollution (notably PCBs, which have contaminated the Fox River).

    It also uses a great deal of electricity, which in Wisconsin is largely produced by coal-fired power plants (which is why our fish contain high levels of mercury and should be consumed only in moderation).

    The industry only remediates as much as regulators (EPA, DNR) require. They certainly don't remove all the sulfur dioxide before it leaves the smokestack (which is why paper towns have a distinctive rotten egg smell) The clean-up of the Fox River (and how to pay for it) has been very contentious. Here's a fun tool from the EPA -- the toxic release index. Plug in a Madison ZIP code, and you see that 24,011 pounds of toxic substances were released in 2009, mostly by MG&E. Plug in a Wisconsin Rapids ZIP code, and you see that the total is 3,137,484 pounds, mostly from the pulp mill.

    I believe that paper is a useful product, and it provides needed jobs in Wisconsin. But we should be aware of the total cost to society of that industry, and work to gradually improve its environmental impact.

  6. Umnnnhhh...PCBs have been verboten for years.

    And Our Own Government will be forcing us to inject mercury into our children's rooms--and every OTHER room in the house--in only a year or so. Sulfur dioxide also hits the atmosphere with every single volcanic eruption, and in far greater and more concentrated quantities than all the world's paper-plants combined. (We could also mention that the 'sulfur method' is not common.)

    "Gradual improvement" is well underway.

    But of course, the Green Weenies offer the un-falsifiable: that the environment must be "clean"--and that means whatever the Greens say it means, on any given day. Thus, "global warming" scaremongers do not EVER define the 'ideal temperature,' because that 'ideal' would then have to be defended.

    Finally, I would suggest that Madistan's EPA index reading is vastly understated. Gaseous emissions from just The Dome far outpace those of Consolidated Paper, IMHO.