Paper sometimes gets a “Bad Wrap” when it comes to the environment. As a certified green printer we thought we would take a moment to dispel some of the myths surrounding the print industry and use of paper.
Paper Can Be Recycled up to 7 Times!
Paper is the most reused material in the United States, and 65% of the paper sold is recycled. (AF&PA, 2013) To be considered recycled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), uncoated/writing paper requires a minimum of 30% post-consumer materials. Coated papers used in high quality printing and for magazines need a minimum of 10%.
What are post-consumer materials?
Paper that you have used and then returned to a recycling plant is considered post-consumer waste. This includes office paper, magazines, packaging, and publications. The papers are then de-inked, washed, and whitened, and converted into new paper and print products.
How does this differ from pre-consumer materials?
Unpurchased magazines and newspapers, and the scraps created in the milling process are considered pre-consumer waste. Although they are usually reprocessed, these materials are often not considered recycled.
What about the trees?
Most of the harvested trees in the United States are used to make lumber, not pulp or paper. Almost 90% of the trees that are used for new paper come from private landowners, who maintain, sustainably manage, and renew the forests they harvest from.
Shouldn’t we worry about the “Carbon Footprint”?
Much of the energy used to produce paper is renewable. In fact according to a 2013 study by ECOFYS, a leading expert in sustainable energy solutions and climate policies, the entire pulp, paper, and print process accounts for only 1% of the world’s green-house gas emissions, making the paper and print production lifecycle one of the lowest industry emitters. Paperless solutions offer a different set of problems from manufacturing and e-waste concerns, to energy consumption, and the move to digital is typically a cost factor versus an environmental one.
How is JP Graphics green?
While many of the papers and products we use are recycled, we can also provide paper that is completely recycled upon request. Additionally, our facility recycles all of our leftover paper, packaging, ink, cartridges, and pre-consumer waste, and our entire building and print department is powered by solar.
What can I do to help?
Recycling paper has never been easier! Trash companies often provide bins, and many stores and shopping areas have paper recycling bins as well. The following products can be recycled depending on your waste management company:
– Writing paper, folders, stationary, business cards, notebooks, and colored paper
– Cereal boxes, product packaging, detergent boxes, corrugated boxes and coffee sleeves
– Paper shopping bags, gift bags, and wrapping paper
– Newspapers, old mail, and fliers
– Clean coffee cups, milk, and juice cartons
– Telephone books, magazines and catalogs (staples are okay)
– Hardcover & softcover books (you may need to find a recycler who specializes in this)
You can also repurpose your paper products and boxes! We’ve shared a few ideas on our Pinterest Board to get you started.