International Day of Action on Throwaway Cups


Civil society organisations around the world are taking action on Wednesday 22 March 2017 (23 March in Australia) to show growing consciousness of the need to avoid using throwaway cups, which cause harm to people, forests, water and the climate.

On this international day of action, we invite people all around the world to take a forest-friendly action by choosing to use only reusable cups. Our member organisations are asking fast food and drink companies and politicians to make it easy for us always to drink our tea and coffee from reusable vessels.

Our message is simple: no throwaway cups.

Globally, at least 58 billion throwaway cups are used each year, involving more than a million tonnes of paper.  According to the Paper Calculator, their production requires 32 million trees, 100 billion litres of water (that’s 43 thousand Olympic swimming pools) and emits as much greenhouse gases as half a million cars. Hardly any throwaway cups are recycled.

EPN member organisations around the world are campaigning on paper cups on the international day of action, including the following NGOs in China, Germany, Belgium, UK, USA and Australia: Wuhu Ecology Center – Wuhu City, Anhui province;  Snow Alliance – Xining City, Qinghai Province; Green Henan – Zhengzhou City, Henan Province,  China Green Student Forum –  Beijing,  Green Longjiang – Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province; Green Camel Bell – Gansu; CEPN – Beijing; Robin Wood – Hamburg; Denkhausbremen – Bremen; ARA – Bielefeld; Eco-Develop – Berlin; partner organisations in Freiburg and Tübingen; Reforesting Scotland – Edinburgh; Fern – Brussels; Rainforest Relief – New York; Green America – Washington DC; Stand – Seattle; Markets for Change – Hobart .

Our Cupifesto – A Manifesto for No Throwaway Cups – is available with background information here:

See our full Press Release here.

For more information contact:



No throwaway cups Chinese film from Environmental Paper Network on Vimeo.

wuhu Ecology Center

Green Henan in Zhengzhou City

Snow Alliance

Green Longjiang

Brussels based NGOs

Robin Wood, Germany


ARA, Germany

Various EPN-Members

Stand, USA


Red Lines for pulp mill finance – a webinar and a Chinese version


Earlier this year, we published  Green Paper, Red Lines. 

The document  is a briefing for financiers, which sets out minimum requirements for pulp and paper companies. We ask all those involved in financing the industry to avoid any projects or companies that do not meet these Red Lines. To help explain this important document, we are running a webinar about it on 13 December, and have now translated it into Chinese.

As the world’s biggest consumer of paper, China is a major player in financing the pulp industry, and it is becoming of increasing importance. We have therefore translated the Red Lines into Chinese, to make it easier for Chinese bankers to know what civil society requests them not to invest in: Green Paper Red Lines, Chinese translation.

China has strong legislation, in the form of the Green Credit Guidelines, to regulate overseas investment by Chinese financial institutions. We are currently analysing how our Red Lines can best be used alongside these Guidelines. We look forward to constructive engagement with Chinese banks and other financial organisations.

We are hosting a webinar on Tuesday 13 December 2016 at 1400 UT, aimed at bankers and investors, to explain why the Red Lines are so important. Please contact hag at if you are interested in taking part.

Read more about the Red Lines here.

Paludiculture workshop: local community solutions to sustaining peatlands in Indonesia


The Environmental Paper Network is helping to host a workshop in Indonesia to share knowledge about paludiculture, sustainable management of peat soils and solutions to the peatland degradation caused by the paper industry. Sergio Baffoni gives a flavour of the discussions.

There is a palm that produces bread, a vine to braid baskets, a grass to weave carpets.  For decades, local people have successfully planted crops that are native to peat wetlands, such as sago, rattan, jelutung, purun and other native plants, which assured their livelihoods and food security, while not threatening other sources of livelihoods, such as fishing and gathering. This culture is based on the natural environment, does not require the use of fire or drainage and keeps the soil healthy.

Even on degraded and drained peat lands, such as in areas deforested by government-sponsored projects or by plantation expansion, and even in areas devastated by fire, local communities have struggled to develop fire-free horticulture methods that prevent soil subsidence, flooding in the wet season and fires in the dry season.

This knowledge has cost years of experimentation and exhausting work, but almost nobody knows about it. This is why Wetlands International and Jikalahari, a network of environmental organizations in Sumatra, with the support of EPN and CLUA, have organised a workshop to compare local communities experience in paludiculture on peat.

Paludiculture means planting on water keeping the peat wet, using local species that grow naturally on peat. “We have done it for centuries,” says Syaripudin Gusar, from a village in South Sumatra. “Now palm oil and acacia plantations have taken all the land, and only 300 hectares of purun grass remains to our community, 7 hours by boat from the village.” But purun artisanal manufacturing is their identity, so they don’t give up.

“To plant without burning you have to find the right plant, the right species,” says Akhmad Tamuruddin, from Borneo. He arrived in Borneo 34 years ago, with other transmigrants. He was given a little piece of land in the middle of the nowhere, and nothing more. “We had to use fire to open it up. I used fire too, I have to admit it. But every time you burn the land, it goes down several centimetres. You have to burn it every time you sow, it’s half a meter in five years, it’s madness. So I stopped. It has been hard work, but now nearby areas are getting flooded every heavy rain, while my land remains dry.”

“We planted sago before independence,” says Abdul Manan from the Meranti Islands, in the Straits of Malacca. Sago is a kind of palm with a spongy centre that it is edible. “We do not need fertilizers, the ponds are full of fishes, we don’t have to dry or burn the peat, it’s not a monoculture. We make noodles, porridge, chips, and even sugar from it.” Then a company arrived and planted sago by cutting the forest, digging canals, drying and burning peat, followed by a pulp and paper company (connected to APRIL), which also started to cut the forest, dig canals, dry and burn peat. The villagers resisted, in order to protect their gardens, their forest and their traditional way of life. Now they are blocking the canals. They still produce sago.

In the workshop, other successful experiences of living on peat without destroying it are exchanged. Then villagers from different provinces ask each other how much it costs to work peat with mineral soil to avoid fire, whether it is possible to plant rattan between Rambutan fruit trees instead of between rubber trees, and how to commercialize sago. They are many pieces of local wisdom, and together they can become a systemic solution to preserve forest, climate and local development.

Industrial development followed a very different path. As well as the palm oil industry, the pulp and paper industry has developed a highly destructive model based on large scale monoculture of alien species, which requires peat degradation. Land that local communities managed according to traditional wisdom has been robbed, cleared and drained. Canals cut into the peat bogs have drained waste land areas, released huge amounts of CO2 and made them prone to forest fires and subsidence.

These industries should learn from the local communities, and change their silviculture model or leave the ground to other people who can manage it better for the future of Indonesia. After the peat fire crisis last year, which impacted the health of millions of people in Indonesia and neighbouring countries, leading to several deaths and releasing more than one billion tonnes of CO2, the pulp and paper industry cannot delay any longer.

Peat soil must be protected by keeping the water level high or by rewetting if drained. Peat has to be planted with local species that can survive in swamps. Among these there are species that can produce paper fibre. The monoculture model has to be turned into a new landscape-based mosaic approach, which includes restoration of natural forest, community based paludiculture and agroforestry, and paludiculture-based fibre plantations for papermaking.

For those unable to attend, we will be hosting a webinar on paper industry impacts on peatlands in Indonesia, by Bas Tinhout of Wetlands International, at 0900 UT on Tuesday 22 November 2016. Contact hag (@) for details of how to join the webinar.


EPN Co-ordinated a Successful Day of Action on Throwaway Cups and Launch of the Cupifesto


Last week saw a flurry of activity around the world with many EPN member organisations challenging throwaway cups. The launch of our Cupifesto – a manifesto for a world without throwaway cups –  was fun and attracted significant attention (see this article in The Guardian, for example).

In Australia, ‘cup conscious cafes’ were signing up to the Cupifesto. In China, lots of local organisations promoted reusable and often very beautiful tea vessels. In Germany there were challenges to fast drinks retailers who only give their customers a throwaway option, and there were also celebrations of reusable cups ranging from traditional ceramic coffee mugs to modern plastic keep-cups. In the USA activists were out on the street highlighting the huge problem of unrecyclable cups. In the UK intensive discussion raged about discounts for customers who bring their own cups and taxes on those who don’t. And all around the world, people blogged, tweeted, facebooked and just chatted about throwaway cups.

One of the interesting results of all this discussion is a poll run by Packaging Newsthe packaging industry magazine, asking if a tax on throwaway cups is a good idea. At the time of writing (5 October, day 3 of the poll), two-thirds of respondents are in favour of a cup tax: 40% say ‘Yes – we drastically need to reduce takeaway cups’ and a further 26% say ‘Yes, but the money raised should be invested in recycling infrastructure’. Only a minority of respondents, even in the packaging industry, think that throwaway cups are not a problem.

It’s clearly time for more leadership to move us towards a future where our daily tea and coffee does not cost the earth. Watch this space as we continue to work together to promote the Cupifesto – a manifesto for a world without throwaway cups.

International Day of Action on Throwaway Cups


through-away-kreis-grau-schwarzer-randMEDIA RELEASE: Civil society organisations around the world are taking action on Thursday 29 September 2016 to raise awareness that using throwaway cups causes harm to people, forests, water and the climate. The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) is launching its ‘Cupifesto – A Manifesto for No Throwaway Cups’ urging drinks retailers and politicians all over the world to stop encouraging a throwaway culture, by ensuring all cups are reusable.

Mandy Haggith, co-ordinator of the Environmental Paper Network said, ‘Throwaway cups, whether made of paper, Styrofoam or plastic, are an icon of wasteful resource use, and of the unthinking acceptance of ever increasing volumes of disposable commodities. It is unacceptable that we drink from single-use vessels instead of beautiful pottery, tough plastic or elegant steel. The Cupifesto is a call to fast food and drinks companies and politicians to ensure everyone has the option of drinking tea and coffee from reusable vessels. Our message is simple – no throwaway cups.’

At least 58 billion throwaway cups are used each year globally, using more than a million tonnes of paper. Their production requires 32 million trees, 100 billion litres of water (that’s 43 thousand Olympic swimming pools) and emits as much greenhouse gases as half a million cars. Hardly any throwaway cups are recycled.

Several EPN member organisations are campaigning on paper cups on this international day of action, including NGOs in Germany, USA, Australia, China and Finland.

Jannis Pfendtner of Robin Wood, Germany, said, “More than 10 billion throwaway cups are used in Germany each year – the waste issue is huge! Many companies such as the German bakery BackWerk do not even have ceramic or reusable dishes anymore. Wasting precious wood for a cup, which is only in use for a few minutes, is crazy.”

The North American group Stand has launched a “Better Cup” campaign targeting Starbucks. Their Executive Director, Todd Paglia, said, “Starbucks coffee cups destroy forests and our climate. It’s time Starbucks provide sufficient incentives to motivate their customers to bring their own cups, and make their cups fully recyclable everywhere.”

Peg Putt, Chief Executive Officer of Markets for Change, Australia, said, “We’ve launched a ‘cup conscious cafe’ movement in Australia to indicate that cafes welcome reusable cups, and most cafes in central Hobart, Tasmania have already joined. They proudly display the cup conscious cafe sticker to inform customers.”

The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) is a coalition of more than 140 environmental and social non-governmental organisations from 28 countries, who all share a Global Paper Vision for sustainable future paper production and use. The first pillar of this vision is to reduce global paper consumption.

The Cupifesto is published with relevant background information and resources here:

For more information contact Mandy Haggith  +44 (0)1571 844020


Actions and campaigns by our member organisations

Stand’s Starbucks Campaign

Learn more about Stand’s Starbucks Campaign 


Robin Wood’s Backwerk Campaign

Learn more about Robin Wood’s Backwerk Campaign 

Markets For Change, Australia

Learn more about Markets for Change 

China Environmental Paper Network (CEPN) at Qinglong County

Learn more about CEPN 

Green Henan, at Zhengzhou City, China

Green Longjiang, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China

Green Camel Bell, Lanzhou City, China

Tropica Verde, Germany

Learn more about Tropica Verde 

Ecodevelop, Germany

Paper Saving Summit



If you get frustrated by junk mail, paper cups, disposable napkins, catalogues, packaging or pointless photocopying, you need to come to the Paper Saving Summit.

On 31 May 2016, people will gather from around the world for a summit about paper saving at Wiston Lodge in the Scottish borders. We will be discussing how we can achieve the first goal of the Global Paper Vision: to reduce global paper consumption. Our goal is to be
both inspiring and practical, having fun but also resulting in a viable joint paper saving campaign. So far we have participants from around Europe, China, Australia, USA and Canada and the more the merrier.

The event will begin with a Paper Saving Passions Catwalk, where participants will give creative expression to their passions, irritations, ideas and projects about paper saving. We’ll have market stalls, where details of current campaigns will be shared, and we’ll be bouncing around frightening facts about paper waste to keep us motivated, while also  exploring solutions on which we can work together.

There will be lots of opportunities for discussion, so whether you have a practical project that is going well, or just know paper consumption is a problem but have no idea where to start, this meeting is for you. Come along, be inspired and get active.

All member organisations of the Environmental Paper Network are welcome to take part. Bookings can be made by following this link.

For guidance about preparation for the summit and the agenda, see here.

Contact Mandy Haggith for more information.

Helping China Achieve Sustainable Paper Production and Use


What is China’s impact on forests and communities, given that it is the world’s biggest paper consumer and the fastest-growing investor in the pulp and paper industry? Activists from Indonesia and from the Chinese Environmental Paper Network are working together to increase understanding of this question. To assist this learning process, we are organising an exchange between environmental activists from China and Indonesia, together with European and North American campaigners.

During September and October 2014, Chinese activists will travel to Indonesia, and Indonesians will travel to China. The Indonesian visit will involve meetings in Jakarta and travel into forest lands in Sumatra, to observe the impacts on the ground of pulp and paper production, and to meet representatives of affected communities. The participants will learn about the impact of the policies and practices of the pulp and paper industry, governments and finance in Indonesia, and consider the role that China is and should be playing.

The return visit will involve a public event on 15 October exploring China’s role in the global publishing paper trail, looking at how printers and publishers can make sustainable paper choices, to supply books to Chinese and international markets with the miminum environmental and social harm. This visit will also include learning about the methods of paper production that have been carried out sustainably for thousands of years since paper was invented there, and it will be a chance for international campaigners to learn about Chinese culture and the potential and challenges for environmental advocacy.

Following the launch of our Global Paper Vision earlier this summer, this project demonstrates that the Environmental Paper Network is a truly global coalition, working together to find international solutions to the environmental and social problems caused by the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia and other producer countries.


Looking forward to meeting face-to-face


The members of the EEPN rarely get the chance to be together in person, as we all work in different parts of Europe (and the rest of the world) and we’re all trying to keep our environmental footprints small. But once a year there is a gathering of the European forest movement and it’s coming soon (28-30 April). Many of the EEPN members will be there and it is going to be exciting to be able to catch up on each other’s work and to clarify what our priorities should be for the coming year.