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How can people balance tree preservation with the need for paper?

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The Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program encourage consumers to purchase products bearing the FSC and SFI logos to balance tree preservation with the need for paper and other wood-based products. Both organizations promote responsible, sustainable practices in the harvesting, replanting, growth and management of forest resources around the world.

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The Forest Stewardship Council mission and vision are based on 10 key principles, including instituting forest management plans, maintaining biodiversity, utilizing plantations to reduce the demand on forest resources, and efficiently using all harvested forest products.

SFI Inc. oversees, maintains and works continuously to improve the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program. The organization certifies forests around the world according to the program's requirements and offers chain-of-custody certification to businesses and organizations. The chain-of-custody program tracks fibers supplied by certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycling programs. The SFI product labeling system informs consumers of the percentage of certified fiber content and post-consumer recycled content in packaging and other paper products, enabling them to make informed purchasing decisions.

In addition to using certified and sustainable sources for raw materials, consumers should minimize paper waste by using electronic communication, opting out of mailing campaigns and reusing paper products whenever possible. Many paper products are compostable or recyclable. Curbside and commercial recycling programs recovered 65 percent of paper products in 2012, which was significantly higher than the recovery rates of metal, glass and plastic products in the same time period.

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