9 common myths demystified

| 25 June 2015

Exotic trees grown in plantations overtake the countryside
Exotic species are not a problem if their seeding into the local countryside is correctly controlled. Exotic species found in the countryside represent a legacy issue of past practices by government, farmers and industry.

Bananas grow on trees
Although we all call it a “banana tree” the stem doesn’t contain true woody tissue. In reality it is an herbaceous plant, or “herb”. Spread the word.

Cutting down on paper usage saves trees
You cannot ‘save’ a tree. Companies like Sappi plant trees which, like any other crops, are harvested when ready. You might as well say that not choosing to buy a tomato saves that tomato. Every year, more trees are planted than what was harvested.

Tomatoes are legally considered vegetables
They are still fruit – unless you’re speaking in legal terms. In the Nix v Hedden case the Supreme Court of the United States simply classified tomatoes as vegetables for the purposes of taxation, so that under the Tarrif Act of 1883 they would be taxable, in the agricultural sense.

Chameleons blend into their surroundings
It’s common knowledge that chameleons change colours but the reason for this is slightly more elusive. While most believe it is so that they can blend in with their surroundings, the primary reasons are to adjust their bodies to changing temperatures and light or to communicate with other chameleons. For instance, a chameleon that gets cold might change to a darker colour to absorb more heat and warm its body.

The bulk of a tree harvested for paper does not end up as paper product
This is misleading. Around 50% of a tree is water, which is used in the manufacturing process and therefore ‘saves’ on the use of external water. The remainder of the tree is lignin cooked out of the wood black liquor, which is used to provide environmentally friendly biomass energy. The remaining fibre is used to make pulp and eventually paper.

A goldfish has a three-second memory
The idea that with every lap around the fish bowl your goldfish is experiencing the world as if it were completely new is completely wrong. Goldfish actually have a fairly decent memory. In fact, they can be taught to respond to different light, music, or other sensory cues.

Chewing gum will stay in your stomach for seven years
Not so. It’s true that it isn’t digestible, but that doesn’t mean it lingers in your stomach forever. It will come out with everything else.

The paper industry is a major net carbon emitter
According to the Australian Pulp and Paper, taken as a whole, commercial forestry has a positive carbon footprint. A similar statement has been made by the US National Council for Air and Stream Improvement for the Canadian Pulp and Paper Industry. These claims have been proven by audited analyses.

For further information about paper and Sappi’s range of quality paper, packaging and speciality products please visit www.sappi.com