Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recycled vs. FSC Paper

Today I am educating myself about paper! 

I am in a faculty/staff organization that is working towards greater sustainability on our campus.  The question of paper supplies arose and so I started doing a little investigating.  I learned that the printing paper we currently use is Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC), but not recycled.  A little voice inside of me cried: "Oh, we MUST get recycled paper on campus!"  However, another member suggested I look into the differences between recycled and FSC paper before leaping to any conclusions.  It was a good suggestion as I feel I have learned quite a bit on the topic and thus, can make a more educated choice--rather than just going with my gut...or rather, the voice in my head!.

What I found most troubling was that recycled paper comes mostly from pre-consumer content (i.e. waste leftover from paper manufacturing, etc).  This could theoretically mean that recycled paper is coming from poorly managed sources and is not really supporting a sustainable process.  Or, that you don't KNOW that isn't the case.  You just don't know.  At least with the FSC you have the assurance that the sources were managed sustainably, even if the material is from a "virgin" tree.  However, I also learned that one of the sources for FSC paper can be made from agricultural waste, so it might not be a tree at all!

I suppose recycled FSC would be the very best option, combining the best of both.  I wonder if I can get the mail/copy room to spring for it!

Sometimes what seems like the obvious answer when it comes to sustainability may not really the case.  That is one of the things that makes trying to lead a low-impact life so very tricky sometimes!  It is a good reminder for me as to why it is important not to just assume the recycling logo means the product has an eco-halo!  After all, they are outright trying to trick us with green-washing these days....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!