Dissolving pulp: the threat to Indonesia’s forests you’ve probably never heard of

24 September 2014

If “dissolving pulp” evokes nothing for you, you’re not alone. Not many people have heard of it, and the very term “dissolving pulp” is so generic it’s hard to imagine it could be a threat to anything.

But pull out some of your favorite items of clothing, check the label, and if you see Rayon, viscose, modal, or tencel among the fabrics it’s made of, you’re wearing a textile made from dissolving pulp. And that could mean you’re wearing forest destruction.

Wood fiber plantations have been encroaching on Indonesia’s rainforests for decades, with the majority of the pulp historically being used to make paper. But as the world continues to go digital, using less paper, and as the price of cotton bottoms out due to fears that global production is exceeding demand, companies have been looking for new markets for their pulp. Increasingly, they’re turning to dissolving pulp--which is having dire consequences for forests.

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