Western Michigan University Student Builds on Environmental Paper Engineering Studies

Savanna Manchester, a senior at Western Michigan University who graduated recently, studied environmental paper engineering, a subfield of chemical engineering.

By Chris Worst

April 30, 2014 (The Daily Reporter - Coldwater, Michigan) - A modestly-sized group gathered at the Branch District Library-Sherwood Branch last week to listen to a local student share her knowledge.

Sherwood native Savanna Manchester, a senior at Western Michigan University who graduated this past weekend, studied environmental paper engineering, a subfield of chemical engineering.

"It (has) the same core classes (as chemical engineering) but it is a more specialized field of it," Manchester explained.

Library branch manager Gina Horn said Manchester's talk was part of a series she is conducting in which students from the Sherwood area talk about their fields of study to interested locals.

"I think itís important to support our local (students)," Horn said.

Manchester said there are many myths surrounding the paper industry.

"Trees make a lot of different things," she said. "They are used to make shatterproof glass, vanilla flavoring ... tons and tons of things. Everyone's saying that (the world) is going to be paper-free ... I challenge everyone to not use paper, even for four hours.

"You unconsciously use paper all the time," she added.

Manchester said harvesting trees to make paper products is not as harmful to the environment as many people believe.

"The paper industry treats forests as a crop, just like a farmer plants corn," she said. "The paper industry plants trees; for every tree they cut down, the plant three ... the industry does plant more than we do harvest.

"Paper is one of the only truly sustainable products that there is," she added. "For every ton of paper that is recycled, there's about 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space that is saved. Plastic bottles are exponentially worse than paper."

Read the entire story at: www.thedailyreporter.com/article/20140429/NEWS/140428918/-1/news .

SOURCE: The Daily Reporter (Coldwater, Michigan)

Editor's Note: For additional information about Western Michigan University, visit www.wmich.edu, or for information about WMU's Chemical and Paper Engineering undergraduate program, visit www.wmich.edu/pci.