Paper manufacturer Temple-Inland Inc. this week issued a statement accepting blame and apologizing for a discharge from one of its virgin pulp mills in Louisiana.
The discharge exceeded allowable amounts last Saturday and subsequently decreased oxygen levels in the Pearl River, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of fish and mussels despite immediate action by the company.
The discharge was mainly a mixture of water and a biodegradable residue known as "black liquor", a byproduct of the virgin paper manufacturing process.
"The extraction and processing of raw materials to produce products and packaging--whether plastic, metals or paper invariably poses a cost on public health and the environment," said CAW Executive Director Mark Murray.
"While the companies that extract, process and manufacture these products and materials bear responsiblity for doing so in a manner that conserves resources and protects the environment, we all play a role with our consumption and management habits. We need to reduce consumption, reuse where possible, avoid excess packaging and seek out those products and materials with the highest levels of recycled content."
"For our part, we will continue to push the paper industry to increase its use of recycled materials."