Tell Staples to stop destroying forests!

Staples -- number one in forest destruction!

provided by Earth Island Institute


very day we are losing more of our forests to the production of paper products. Paper production is one of the primary reasons our forests are being clear-cut at such a dizzying pace. And many of these products office paper, post-it pads, paper towels, napkins, etc. are used once and then thrown away.

The pulp and paper industry is the largest single industrial wood consumer in the United States and in the world. Pulp mills in the United States consume more than 12,000 square miles of forest each year; almost half of all trees logged are turned into paper, and the percentage is increasing.

Currently, 90% of the world's paper is manufactured from wood pulp, but in the United States less than 1% of the total pulp produced is manufactured from nonwood, tree free alternatives. In the United States, our per capita paper usage tips the scales at 735 pounds of paper per year.

More than half of our paper in the United States comes from Southern forests, the region containing the greatest biodiversity in the continental United States. Office paper also contains pulp made from old growth trees United States such as majestic 1000-year-old Douglas firs from the Pacific Northwest, or Canada's Great Bear Rainforest.

Paper comprises from 40 to 50 percent of the trash in typical landfills.


The Staples story


Staples is the largest and fastest growing office super-store in the world, with 1,100 stores and locations in 48 states plus Washington, DC and the UK, Canada, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands. Staples sale of paper is driving the destruction of our endangered forests worldwide, including in US National Forests, the forests of the southeast, and old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Staples also sells desks and other wood products made by Sauder Industries -- a company that purchases wood coming directly from the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America.

Staples is opening new stores at an alarming rate: during 1999, Staples opened its 1000th store and in a single day opened 22 retail stores. As the number of Staples stores increases so does the number of forests destroyed.

Environmentalists have been trying to persuade Staples to stop selling old growth for over a year. Staples has refused. It is critical that we demand that Staples that stop destroying forests. We are calling on Staples to:


  • Immediately phaseout of all wood and paper products made from old growth fiber.
  • Immediately phaseout of all wood and paper products made from fiber from US public lands.
  • Set a target of 50% post consumer content for all paper products and begin an immediate phaseout of all products that are 100% virgin wood fiber.
  • Make available 100% post consumer paper and paper that is made from agricultural fiber in all stores or other points of sale.
  • Educate all employees, customers, and suppliers on the benefits of recycled paper, recycling, the availability of alternative fibers, and the benefits of healthy forest resources.

We need to act now. Experts expect worldwide paper and paperboard consumption will increase 90% from 1993 levels by 2010.


What you can do


Selling tons of paper every year, the office supply industry is driving the destruction of our forests worldwide, including US National Forests, forests of the Southern US, and old growth forests. With nonwood and tree free paper readily available, there is simply no need for office supplies to be made from native forests, used once, and thrown away.

Staples is the largest and fastest growing office super store in the world. Please write to Staples and demand that they immediately begin to sell all tree-free and post-consumer recycled paper, while immediately stopping the sale of paper from old growth and US National Forests. Let them know the American public will no longer accept paper made from forest destruction.

Write to:

Mr. Tom Stemberg, CEO
Staple's, Inc.
500 Staple's Drive
Framingham, MA 01702

Sample Letter:

I am writing to urge you to end your company's sale of products made from the destruction of endangered forests and become a supplier of ecologically sound wood and paper alternatives. Every day we are losing more of our forests to logging. We all depend on forests for stable climates, oxygen, soil conservation, and clean water. I am particularly concerned with the impact the production of paper has on these forests -- the pulp and paper industry is the single largest industrial wood consumer in the United States and the rest of the world. As an industry leader, Staples has the responsibility to set the standard in protecting our forests and transition the paper industry to a more ecologically sound position. Your company should immediately eliminate products made from old growth and US national forests and to begin an immediate phase out of all products that are 100% virgin wood fiber and replace them with high content post consumer and tree free products. Please let me know about your plans to address this critical issue.


[Name and Address]


What else you can do



  • Organize an event in front of a local Staples to educate consumers and pressure the company.
  • Alert the media
  • Organize a letter writing campaign or a call/fax in day to Staples
  • Write letters/op-eds or even articles for your local papers.
  • Do outreach to local community organizations, religious organizations and community leaders. Ask them to get involved to save endangered forests.

To find a Staples store near you, go to Staples's web site If there isn't a store near you, you can organize a call-in day to Staples CEO Tom Stemberg. His direct extension is 508-253-7143. The main number to corporate headquarters is 508-253-5000. You can also call the customer service number at 1-800-3staple.


Additional Information

We now have a list serve to keep people updated on the old growth campaign and to facilitate communication about upcoming events. To get on the list serve, send an email to Liz Butler. Include all your contact information.

Should you have any questions, concerns, or some advice, please do not hesitate to call. You can call Liz Butler/Coastal Rainforest Coalition, 206-781-1107, 202-285-6758,; Kelly Sheehan/ American Lands, (828) 698-2422,; Michelle/ FTP 202-547-3656,; Jen Krill/RAN 415-398-4404, Nancy Hurwitz/ ReThink Paper 503-668-5123,