Wetlands Protests
Office Depot and Office Max
As Part of 75 Store Day of Action

One day, two stores, two boroughs, and one issue—stopping the destruction of forests for paper. On April 24, 2003, Wetlands Activism Collective held two protests, one at the Office Depot store on the corner of Broadway and 41st Street in Manhattan and the other at the Office Max store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

The protests were part of a national day of action called by The Paper Campaign, a national coalition of outdoor enthusiasts, environmentalists and religious leaders, to demand that the companies protect endangered forests and dramatically increase the overall recycled content of their products.

Office Depot's policy, announced on Earthday (April 22), allows the company to continue destroying endangered and old growth forests like the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the Amazon, and the Boreal forest of Canada

"Office Depot's Earth Day environmental commitment is missing one key factor – the protection of the Earth," stated Todd Paglia, Director of The Paper Campaign at ForestEthics. "Unlike its rival, Staples, Office Depot plans to continue selling products made from endangered forests around the world, and this is simply not acceptable."

The Southeast US, home to Office Depot's corporate headquarters and the most biodiverse forests in the country, is the largest paper-producing region in the world. Florida, Office Depot’s home state, is projected to lose 58% of its native forest cover by 2040, much of this to paper production funded by companies like Office Depot.

Key Paper and Recycling Facts:

  • 42% of the world's industrial wood harvest is used to make paper that is often used once and disposed of.
  • The pulp and paper industry is the third largest emitter of industrial greenhouse gas. Producing recycled paper cuts these emissions by 47%.
  • Paper makes up nearly 40 percent of all household garbage generated in the U.S., a far greater percentage than any other commodity.
  • Creating paper from recycled fiber requires 27% less energy than producing paper from trees.

    "Every day our forests are destroyed to make paper for Office Max and Office Depot. The time is ripe for them to meet or beat Staples' commitment to the environment," said Kelly Sheehan, National Organizer for Dogwood Alliance. "While Staples has developed a company-wide policy aimed at protecting endangered forests, Office Max and Office Depot are lagging behind."

    On November 12, 2002, Staples Inc., the world’s largest and fastest growing office supply retailer, announced an unprecedented environmental policy. The policy will result in sweeping protections for forests in the Southern US, US public lands and Canada’s Boreal forest, as well as other forests around the world. Led by the North Carolina-based Dogwood Alliance and California-based ForestEthics, the effort targeting Staples successfully concluded after a two-year campaign that included more than 600 protests at Staples stores nationwide, ads featuring rock legends R.E.M., and thousands of letters and calls directed to the company’s CEO.

    The Paper Campaign coalition partners include: American Lands Alliance, Cascadia Forest Alliance, Center for a New American Dream, Dogwood Alliance, Earth First!, ForestEthics, Green Corps, Ecopledge, Sierra Student Coalition, Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, Free the Planet, Heartwood, Native Forest Network, National Forest Protection Alliance, Kentucky Heartwood, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Relief, ReThink Paper, Student Environmental Action Coalition, Wild Alabama, Iowa STEP, Shenendoah Ecosystem Defense Group, GrassRoots Recycling Network, Indiana Forest Alliance and many local groups.

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