USA: United Methodists say “no” to dioxins
Update: January 2011:
Members of United Methodist Women (UMW) continue to press paper companies to stock chlorine-free paper (PCF); the campaign has now been running for over a decade.
The UMW has been using the method of letter-writing, with the aim of getting more corporations on board. It has already managed to get three nationwide companies to stock PCF paper in some of their stores.
In most cases it takes several hundred letters to each company to get a positive response but despite that, more corporations are constantly being added to the campaign’s list.
As their Sacred Gift, the Women’s Division of the US United Methodist Church launched an important initiative in 2000 to eliminate chlorine in paper products used by the church. The aim was to build consumer demand for chlorine-free paper throughout the country.
Following consultations with experts from around the world, the Church has developed a strategy for putting consumer pressure on the US paper industry.
Dioxins and other toxins interfere with the body’s essential hormone functions and have been linked to cancers, infertility and abnormal development in both humans and wildlife. They are released into the environment during the production of paper that contains chlorine, as well as during its incineration.
As a result of the Gift United Methodists throughout the USA launched a major campaign to persuade one of the largest nationwide printing and photocopying companies to provide the option of chlorine-free paper. By 2002 they had succeeded.
The United Methodists have more than 7 million members in 36,000 churches across the country with a further 6,300 churches and more than 1 million members outside the US. Between them, this Church and its members use more paper than the whole of Sweden.