News | 11th Feb, 2013

Zoo told to dump recycled paper campaign

11 Feb 2013
Tom Arup, The Age

THE state government has intervened in a Zoos Victoria campaign encouraging its visitors to buy sustainably sourced paper products, ordering it to be dumped or altered.

Department of Primary Industries representatives called Zoos Victoria management on several occasions late last year to warn that its ''Wipe for Wildlife'' campaign was contrary to government policy.

The campaign, run last year at Healesville Sanctuary, encouraged visitors to switch to recycled toilet paper and other paper products that had been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which operates a voluntary, international sustainability standard for timber.

On its website Zoos Victoria says: ''Millions of trees are flushed down Australian toilets each year, so we can wipe our bums and bits. Zoos Victoria's Wipe for Wildlife campaign encourages the community to help save local wildlife by making the switch to recycled toilet paper and choosing products with the FSC logo.''

But the campaign, which included a roaming superhero, Crapman (''Saving wildlife one toilet at a time''), fell foul of the Baillieu government's timber industry action plan, released in December 2011. Under the plan, the government says it will not fund or endorse any organisation that does not also equally recognise an alternative timber certification scheme – the Australian Forestry Standard.

Most conservationist groups believe the stewardship council's certification standards are more rigorous. The Australian Forestry Standard is supported broadly by the timber industry.

Some estimates suggest 80 per cent to 90 per cent of Australian timber products have obtained the Australian certification, but council certification has been granted to only about 10 per cent of locally produced timber products.

The operations of the state-owned timber company VicForests have obtained certification from the Australian Forestry Standard, but not the Forest Stewardship Council…

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