Recycled Paper vs. Managed Forests

Being ‘green’ is all the rage these days, and rightfully so. In the printing industry, the subject of recycled versus virgin paper comes up more and more often. Although we don’t consider ourselves experts, it warrants consideration.

There are cases in which the carbon footprint of recycled paper can actually be higher than that of ‘new’ paper.

Recycled paper can have a greater environmental impact based on these factors:

  • Transportation of the fiber (distance of the collection center from the recycled mill)
  • De-inking process
  • Bleaching method and chemicals used during the process
  • Disposal of the de-inking waste
  • Energy use and the technological inefficiency of many older recycling mills

When in doubt, the greenest option is to buy unbleached, off-white recycled paper. This paper undergoes less intensive processing, and as a result, has a smaller carbon footprint.

For virgin paper that is sustainably produced, look for the Forest Stewardship Council seal and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative logo, both indicating products are produced from well-managed forests. These woodlands are certified and audited to ensure they comply with environmentally sustainable practices and principles.

The PrintingWorks strives to meet our client’s specific needs regarding the use of environmentally friendly paper products.

Interested in reading more? Below are two articles that discuss the topic of Recycled vs. Managed Forest Products.