February 18, 2007

Green Options for Recycled Paper

Megan Prusynski of Green Options has written a good review of the state of the industry in recycled papers. Citing EPA statistics that paper makes up 35% of our waste stream but less than half of that (48%) is recovered for recycling, the graphic designer implores her readers to think more about the alternatives to using virgin paper (paper made from trees). Her research is very helpful because graphic designers would use more recycled paper if they had a ready reference on where to get it.
Conservatree's choosing paper guide begins with a very good recommendation: "The first step in choosing paper is to evaluate how to reduce paper use so that you're only using what's truly needed. Reducing paper use is probably the most important step we can take to save trees and resources and prevent waste."

Megan recommends several online sites to search for alternatives:
• "One of my favorites is renourish. This site is a complete guide for designers who want to become more sustainable and includes information on which types of paper are most environmentally-friendly and what to look for when choosing a sustainable paper. "
• "Celery Design Collaborative has a very comprehensive list of sustainable papers available from a variety of companies."
• "Neenah Paper offers several sustainable options, including Neenah Green Papers and the Environment line of papers. They even have an Environmental Savings Calculator so you can see how many resources you would save by choosing a greener paper."
• "Mohawk Fine Papers also offers recycled choices and many papers produced using wind power.
• "SMART Papers is another large paper company with high environmental standards.
• "Yupo and Polyart provide synthetic tree-free papers.

She then adds a few more specialty paper companies:
While the big paper companies often dedicate only part of their entire product line to sustainable papers, there are smaller companies who produce only sustainable paper. EcoPaper produces papers and stationery that utilize not only recycled paper fibers, but natural tree-free fibers from bananas, coffee, lemons, and even cigars! Green Field Paper Company produces paper that is made with a mix of recycled fibers and renewables like hemp, which is stronger and can be recycled more times than regular paper. They also make paper out of recycled junk mail and coffee, along with some beautiful cards called Grow-A-Note that have seeds embedded in the paper fibers so that the cards can simply be planted after use. Vision Paper produces paper from kenaf, a quick growing plant with a high fiber yield.

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