What is recycled paper?

Wikipedia defines recycled paper as “… the process of recovering waste paper and remaking it into new paper products.”

Recycled paper can be made from three different types of sources:

1. Mill broke (scraps left over from the manufacturing of paper),
2. Pre-Consumer Waste (paper discarded before use by consumer),
3. Post-Consumer Waste (paper discarded after use by consumer).

To be considered recycled, paper must include a certain amount of Post-Consumer Waste (PCW). The required amount varies based on paper type: at least 30% for plain and premium uncoated stocks and 10% for coated and cast coated substrates.

Over the years, recycling processes have improved greatly, making recycled paper a responsible, logical choice. Delivering high-quality results, the end product is typically comparable to that of virgin fiber paper.

At Green Books N Binders, we constantly test new paper products to provide our customers with a selection of recycled or responsibly produced printed material that will provide brightness, smoothness, excellent print quality and durability at a comparable cost to virgin fiber papers and non-recycled material.

Fiber: Recycled vs. Virgin

There is an ongoing debate about the usage of recycled fibers as opposed to virgin fibers. More than one-third of the fibers used by the paper industry come from recycled fiber. Compared to other industries, the amount of Post Consumer Waste used in the paper production process is significant.

The content of recycled material is even greater when you take into account pre-consumer waste (paper waste that never reached consumers) and the usage of mill broke. Broke is the waste generated in the process of making paper. It is re-introduced in the process of making pulp, decreasing the need for virgin fibers. Even though recycled paper requires water and energy, the level of pollution created in the process uses one-third less water and two-thirds less air when compared to virgin fiber (EPA).

Pre-Consumer Waste, recycled broke, and Post Consumer Waste (PCW) are all used in the process of making recycled paper.

The opposite line of thought is that using virgin fibers from responsibly managed forests promotes reforestation which is a critical factor in fighting greenhouse gas effects. Major forest certification programs like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiatives) are leading forces behind responsible and environmentally managed forests.

So what does all of this mean? Using paper is good and using recycled (or paper from managed forests) is better. When printing anything, try to use paper that has some content of PCW (look for at least 10% and the higher the better!) or is FSC or SFI certified.

And whichever paper you choose to use, always remember to recycle it at the end of the lifecycle. Recycling paper uses less energy and produces much less waste than just tossing it in your trash can. In fact, each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water.

This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution1.

The impacts are clear and the first step begins with you!

 Sources:
1 http://www.pacebutler.com/blog/recycling-facts/

Get in the loop with Mohawk

Earlier this month, North American paper manufacturer, Mohawk Fine Papers, launched a new line of eco-friendly papers. Described to us as Mohawk “to the next environmental level”, every new paper produced in this line is renewed, recycled and responsible. Offering the largest selection of 100% PCW options, this line makes it easier for designers and printers alike to do the right thing for the environment without sacrificing quality or selection.

FEATURES

–          Made with renewable energy and post-consumer fiber
–          Variety of shades are available (35 to be exact), from bright white to rich black
–          8 finishes, including unique “silk coated” finish (with 50% pcw to boot!)
–          The line is FSC-certified
–          Manufactured with Green-e certified windpower
–          Made carbon neutral
–          Packaged in environmentally responsible packaging materials.

… And the list goes on

Needless to say, this new line of papers is a great step towards making sustainable options easily available in the same quality one would expect from its more environmentally harmful counterpart.

Don’t just take our word for it – see for yourself. Order a free Mohawk Loop swatchbook.

(Read the Mohawk Loop press release here.)