Choose the Most Sustainable Paper
Choosing the right paper that is made using sustainable methods is an important way to confront global warming and protect wildlife. When you go to the store, and stand in front of the many reams, or packages, of paper, it's hard to know what to buy.
What to Look For:
The first place to look is at the label at the end of the ream, which will show a variety of symbols. A typical ream label might look something like this:
Notice the symbols in the middle of the label? These are examples of the three types of symbols to look for:
- Green Certification Programs
- Recycled content
- Chlorine use
Green Certification Programs
The Forest Stewardship Council certifies the paper came from sustainably harvested forests.
Green Seal certifies many green products, including paper.
Environmental Choice is a Canadian government environmental certification.
The chasing arrows symbol is the universal symbol of recycling. But some paper products are made from 100 percent recycled fibers, while others are partially made from recycled fibers.
When you see this symbol with the words "100% Recycled Fiber" or no words underneath, it means the product is made from 100 percent recycled fibers.
This symbol, which lists the percent recycled below it, tells you the paper product was partially made from recycled fibers.
Many paper products are bleached and this uses chlorine or chlorine compounds which can be very damaging to the environment.
This symbol is for recycled papers which have been processed without chlorine.
This symbol is for non-recycled papers which have been processed without chlorine.
There are many types of paper used in homes and offices, but the basic type is called "uncoated freesheet." These symbols should help you purchase environmentally-friendly uncoated freesheet. But if you have paper needs that go beyond this "workhorse of papers," such as paper for posters, books or magazines, then we recommend consulting resources such as Conservatree.