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United Methodist Women aiming at Staples stores

 


United Methodist Women aiming at Staples stores

Feb. 20, 2004

By Kelly Martini*

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Members of United Methodist Women are urging the Staples office supply store chain to stock and promote chlorine-free paper.

The campaign is part of an ongoing effort to fight environmental toxins that are suspected of causing breast cancer. The goal is to stop cancer before it starts, said Sung-Ok Lee, community action executive for the Women's Division of the United Methodist Board of Ministries in New York. The division is the administrative arm of United Methodist Women.

"The most serious of these toxins is 'dioxin' - an umbrella term for a variety of chemicals that are unintended byproducts of the manufacturing or incineration process involving chlorine or bromine," Lee noted. The bleaching of paper is a major culprit in producing dioxin, she added.

Processed chlorine-free paper has a recycled content, and no chlorine is used in the papermaking process.

Lee reported that Staples' promotional literature extols the company's environmental concerns and is stocking PCF paper on a trial basis in selected stores "to see how and if the general public understands the issues.

"We think this is a 'winnable' campaign that can make a difference in the world," she said. "United Methodist Women just have to visit a local Staples store and report back to the Women's Division about what they find."

The goal is to have at least 1,000 report cards from United Methodist Women completed by April 30. The cards will then be presented to the chief executive officer of Staples.

Some local UMW units and churches have switched to processed chlorine-free paper because of the division's ongoing work and education of its members.

After a similar campaign with Kinko's copy stores, according to the Women's Division, senior management agreed to ensure that all franchises stock chlorine-free paper and eliminate the price differential between standard white and processed chlorine-free paper.

More information and a "report card" for those who want to visit Staples is available at http://gbgm-umc.org/umw, the organization's Web site.

*Martini is executive secretary of communications for the Women's Division.

News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 or
newsdesk@umcom.org

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