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April 15, 1996

Contact: John P. Ximenes

Environmental Performance Spurs Robust ECF Pulp, Paper Markets

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF), pulp bleached with chlorine dioxide, is poised to capture one-half of the world's bleached chemical pulp (BCP) market, reports an annual study conducted by the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET). With industry experts proclaiming the environmental debate between Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) and ECF bleaching over, the market is returning to values such as product quality.

"We now have consensus within the regulatory, scientific, and technical communities that ECF bleaching processes prevent pollution," said Douglas C. Pryke, AET's executive director. "ECF's environmental performance is unrivaled, its product quality is superior, and this year's production figures show the overwhelming market response," he added.

According to the report, "Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990 - 1996," ECF production is expected to reach 34 million tonnes by the end of this year, for a share of more than 45 percent of the world BCP market. Production trends in North America paint a similar picture. In the US, ECF production has increased almost 2,000 percent since 1990 and is expected to exceed 10 million tonnes in 1996, totalling almost 40 percent of the US BCP market.

"ECF is the product--and process--of choice," said Mr. Pryke. "It contributes to improved water quality, uses less of our precious forest resources, and produces strong pulp and paper products offering greater recyclability."

With the substitution of chlorine dioxide for chlorine, the pulp and paper industry has virtually eliminated dioxin from its mill waste water. Mr. Pryke pointed out that since 1990, 13 states have lifted a total of 17 fish consumption advisories for dioxin downstream of US pulp mills. ECF's proven progress is not limited to the US, however. In Canada, the federal government recently announced that shellfish harvesting would resume in select waters along the British Columbia coast. These re-openings came after a more than 90 percent decline in dioxin and furans in mill waste water.

"The US is now the largest ECF-producing region in the world," said Mr. Pryke. "And the upcoming US Environmental Protection Agency Cluster Rules, based on ECF as a Best Available Technology, will further fuel ECF's growth."

According to Mr. Pryke, as ECF's growth continues, it is assured its place as the industry standard—and as the foundation of emerging technologies. "Now that the environmental debate is over, we can re-focus our attention on the development of the 'closed-loop' mill--an ECF mill that recycles its bleaching waste water, furthering the industry's commitment to environmental integrity," he said.

AET is an international association of chemical manufacturers and forest products companies dedicated to improving the environmental performance of the pulp and paper industry. AET was created to establish a clearinghouse of educational and technical information relating to chlorine dioxide and its use in chemical pulp bleaching.


Note to Editors: a copy of the report is available upon request.