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CHOOSING PAPER

TIPS FOR CHOOSING PAPER

Different papers are produced in different ways so it’s difficult to generalise about the environmental impact of paper. However, we list some of the things to look out for below.

 

Look for:

 

POST-CONSUMER WASTE (see Terminology box to the right).

Choose the highest percentage possible, although any percentage of either post- or pre-consumer waste is better than none.

 

Take a look at our Paper issues section if you need convincing of the value of using recycled paper.

 

OFF-WHITE OR NATURAL WHITE PAPER

Unbleached recycled paper undergoes fewer processes than other recycled or virgin fibre, and therefore uses fewer chemicals and less energy.

 

If none of the above suit your job, then look for:

 

FSC CERTIFIED PAPER

Stick to FSC certified materials if you're buying virgin paper. Although not 100% watertight, this is widely agreed to be the best certification scheme available. Treat anything else that claims to be from sustainable forestry with caution (read more). See box (right) for the three types of FSC certification.

Please note:

Under the FSC Mixed Sources scheme, the virgin fibre content of a paper must contain a minimum of 50% FSC certified fibre while the remainder of the virgin content must come from ‘controlled sources’. Click here for more information.

 

Please also note:

Any paper originating from the UK or Europe will not have been bleached using chlorine bleach and will be either ECF, PCF or TCF. (see glossary). And of course you'll also be minimising transport.

 

See the Paperfinder for lists of recycled and FSC certified papers.

PAPER WEIGHT

Can you use lighter paper for your job? Avoid specifying heavier paper than is necessary.

It may seem obvious, but 200gsm paper uses double the amount of wood fibre as 100gsm paper.

TERMINOLOGY

Post-consumer waste

This is when the end product has reached the consumer, been used and then recycled.

Pre-consumer waste

Also known as post-industrial waste, this describes printers’ waste such as off-cuts and unused copies which may have been over-ordered.

THE 3 TYPES OF FSC PAPER:

FSC Mixed Sources

This is when virgin fibre from FSC approved forests is mixed with recycled fibre. Where possible we have shown the % of recycled waste contained in FSC Mixed sources papers.

100% FSC

No explanation needed!

FSC Recycled

These papers are made from 100% post-consumer waste by FSC accredited mills.