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Paper: Meet Your Maker

Contrary to popular belief, sustainable paper doesn’t have to break your budget. True, there are some niche-marked recycled papers that have a high price tag – but for the vast majority of projects, we know that these (often) budget-busting papers aren’t always necessary.

We created a guidebook a few years ago that includes samples of our Ecoprint house stocks. If you do not have one, let us know! We’ll gladly send one your way to use as a reference and help you in your search for an environmentally and economically friendly stock choices for your organization.

In the meantime, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

1. The higher the PCW percentage, the better

PCW stands for Post Consumer Waste. For uncoated stocks, this means 100% PCW. For coated papers, strive for at least 25% PCW (our Ecoprint Silk grades in the aforementioned guide book contain up to 60% PCW).

2. Two thumbs way, way up for PCF

PCF stands for Processed-Chlorine Free. This means the paper was recycled and re-bleached without the use of toxic chlorinated agents, which accumulate in the environment and threaten water quality and people’s health.

NOTE: ECF does not mean PCF. ECF (Elementally Chlorine Free) means that the paper was still processed using Chlorine Dioxide, which still produces some toxic byproducts.

3. Tree-free papers

Made from fast-growing plants like cotton, bamboo, hemp and kenaf, these papers are priced much higher than recycled papers. Of these tree-free papers, kenaf grows most rapidly, producing high yields and less intensive processing requirements.

Agricultural byproducts can also be used to produce paper – most notably wheat and rice straw. These materials are often burned in the farmer’s field or used as landfill when they could not be recycled. Unfortunately, there is currently no major production of paper from these materials (though studies are underway).

4. Lighter is the new black

A 70 lb. paper uses 12% fewer resources than an 80 lb. sheet. So, when you’re choosing paper…err on the side of less is more (environmentally speaking)!

Kali Bowers

Contributed by Kali Bowers
Account Executive, Ecoprint

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