Choosing Eco Friendly Paper

May 17, 2019, by Lisa Saville




For many people ‘eco friendly paper’ automatically means ‘recycled paper’. While this is often true, the gamut of papers that are friendly to the environment extends beyond recycled paper only.

Firstly, some background on the term ‘recycled’. This can be applied to papers with varying percentages of recycled content and they could be made up of a mixture of recycled plus virgin content. The recycled content can be further divided into ‘pre’ and ‘post’ consumer waste, where pre-consumer waste comes from factory spoils and off-cuts that never made it to the market. Also, although recycling practices are being constantly improved upon, the de-inking process used on post-consumer waste sometimes includes chemical bleaches that are harmful to the environment. You want to look for labels that say TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) which is first prize, or ECF (Elementally Chlorine Free) which is the next best.

There are many other factors to consider when weighing up the ‘green’ credentials of a paper. These include the origin of the wood, manufacturing process used, emissions from transportation, pollution from recycling, waste materials from virgin fibre etc. For more detailed information the WWF Paper Scorecard is a great resource.

So we know that ‘recycled’ can be good but so is ‘recyclable’ or ‘biodegradeable’. Most paper made from wood pulp will biodegrade and is recyclable, but did you know that certain synthetic products can be easily recycled too? For example the waterproof; tearproof PolyArt and Priplak that we use at Hot Ink for menus can be recycled almost infinitely. PolyArt’s more affordable cousin, Rock Paper, is made from minerals and resin; uses no water during its production process; thus resulting in no water pollutants, plus it is 100% biodegradable.

By now you are either feeling slightly overwhelmed or, if you are passionate about paper like us, hungry for more information. If the latter, then read this handy glossary by Kalideck-Antalis who supply the bulk of our papers. If you are still hungry after that then this full length version will more than satisfy your lust for paper knowledge!

So in summary, it’s hard to tick all the environmental boxes all the time, but by learning more about the important stuff and managing your choices as far as possible, you can make a difference:

1. One hundred percent post-consumer waste paper – or as near as possible.
2. Paper sourced from alternative fibres – such as bamboo, hemp, bagasse, wheatstraw, rice straw, etc.
3. Paper that has minimal pulp and papermaking emissions, does not use chlorine bleaching and is manufactured in a closed loop system (ie, full effluent recycling).
4. Paper sourced from ecologically managed plantations and carrying the following certifications: FSC or PEFC.
5. Paper produced using sustainable energy like solar, wind or biomass.
6. Paper produced in environmentally friendly paper mills, for example: Munken from Munkedals.
7. Print with an accredited printer.

Hot Ink is a Carbon Neutral Certified Printer. We achieve this by offsetting all emissions generated by us throughout the year. We choose our paper carefully and are positioned to offer sound advice to help you choose yours. Read more guidelines here or feel free to contact Lisa with any questions…

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