"Promoting the Value of the UK Paper & Board Merchant"
The NAPM supports:
Recycled paper is paper that contains fibre from waste paper
However, there is no universal standard. The Sustainable Office Forum (TSOF) Checklist states that recycled paper should include as high a proportion of post consumer waste fibre as possible. Post consumer waste is paper that has already been used for its final and intended purpose. The use of this type of fibre is most likely to reduce waste paper going to landfill or incineration.
Does the use of recycled paper save trees?
Surprisingly it may not save trees - but it uses their fibre more efficiently. Trees are often planted and cut as a crop for other purposes as well as papermaking. However, recycling does make the best use of the yield of the tree by extending the life span of its fibres. The main benefit of using recycled paper is to reduce the amount of paper going to rubbish tips (landfill sites).
Can my printer print on recycled paper?
Yes, very well. Many companies produce all their literature on recycled paper. The print appearance on recycled paper may differ from that on virgin, but these differences can be small. Designing with the paper in mind, getting the right paper and using a printer who is experienced with printing on recycled paper are the keys to getting the best results for complex print jobs. Papers for office equipment and for printing can be indistinguishable from virgin products
Are jams in copiers or printers more prevalent when using recycled paper?
Some papers are better than others. Both recycled paper quality and equipment designs have improved. Work with your photocopier supplier and service provider to achieve the result you want. Most recycled office paper will work perfectly well in machines. Storage at correct temperature and humidity is recommended to reduce the possibility of jamming with any paper.
Is de-inking of recycled paper environmentally detrimental?
No. A detergent is used to float off the ink. Air bubbles are injected into a large vat holding the pulp and these take the ink to the surface where it is scooped off. It is then solidified. There are a variety of environmentally acceptable methods for disposal of the solid residue; these include the production of cat litter and soil conditioners!
Can paper be recycled indefinitely?
Yes, you can always recycle a piece of paper. However, some of the individual fibres break down each time it goes through the recycling process, and after 4-6 times the fibres then become too short for paper-making. The paper industry will always need a proportion of virgin fibre to replace those, which have deteriorated through recycling.
Are there papers that cannot be recycled?
Most papers can be recycled. Typically, collectors of office waste prefer good quality white waste to be sorted before collection, and this could exclude: coloured paper, thermal fax paper, envelopes, "sticky notes", any paper with glue on it, card, laminates, newspapers and magazines. However, some companies may collect these poorer grades, including newspapers, magazines and coloured paper. Check with your collector.
Is recycled paper always grey?
No, far from it as many modern recycled papers are visually indistinguishable from 100% virgin papers. Ask your paper supplier for samples and see for yourself. The perception that recycled paper is always grey is now outdated.
Does making an environmental positive paper choice cost more?
In recent years recycled paper has often cost more as the price of virgin fibre products has been at a rock bottom level. But the situation is constantly changing, so check regularly with suppliers
Is recycled paper hygienic?
Yes. It is just as hygienic as virgin fibre. The colour of some recycled papers may not look as pure white as virgin fibre products. This is not the same thing as suggesting they are un-hygienic. All materials are subject to tight legislation in this area.
What is "environmentally friendly" paper?
To label paper as "Environmentally Friendly" is meaningless unless explained and justified. Some papers have less environmental impact than others. Considerations include fibre source, energy issues, water effluents, gaseous emissions, and solid wastes. Use the Environmental Checklist from the TSOF as a simple ‘first-stage’ to assessing the environmental performance of different papers. You may need to add more sophisticated methods later.
Is paper made from wood from tropical rainforests?
No. The paper industry does not normally use tropical hardwoods. It does not destroy tropical rain forests, but there are concerns in some developing countries where native forests have been cleared for commercial plantations of various kinds. Paper is made mainly from softwoods from Northern Forests, with some specially planted Eucalyptus and other fast growing species coming from tropical areas.
Does virgin paper use less energy to produce than recycled paper?
There can be no definitive statement on which uses more energy because each forest, producer, vehicle, mill and so on will have its own way of working, and the different types of energy-use also have different environmental impacts. Broadly the reprocessed fibre in recycled grades is more efficient in energy terms.
Does the term "woodfree" mean that the paper is not made from trees?
No. This is confusing industry jargon. In fact "woodfree" means paper that is free from visible particles and substances naturally occurring in wood, which cause the paper to yellow with age. The term is being discouraged in retail environments.
Are the bleaches used in paper making bad for the environment?
There has been much concern about the waste products from bleaching processes used to make wood pulp white and free of impurities. The paper industry now uses virtually no pure chlorine gas, the bleaching method that is worst for the environment.
Elemental chlorine free (ECF) papers are papers made from pulp that has been bleached using oxygen, chlorine dioxide or other chemicals rather than pure chlorine. Totally chlorine free (TCF) papers are made from pulp that has been bleached without the use of any chlorine compounds at all. There is arguably little difference between ECF and TCF in the environmental impact of the pulp bleaching process, and both are significantly less polluting than traditional chlorine gas methods. The industry has made enormous progress over the last 10 years in this context.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), PEFC and others have done a considerable amount of work on this sensitive issue. In addition to yield, sustainability should include environmental and social issues, both for life now and in the future. If you see "made from sustainable forests" on a label then treat it with caution. This is a complex issue: replanting trees is not enough by itself. In the near future more papers will appear which carry the FSC logo, signifying that at least a defined percentage of the pulp comes from FSC audited and certified forests.