Paper for home and office makes up a huge chunk of the wood that's harvested annually. The U.S. alone uses over 26,000 tons of the stuff every single year!
Ideally, we'd never have to print anything out, right? You can pay bills online, file taxes online...so many things that once required a home or office printer have electronic alternatives. Unfortunately, some things just have to be printed out.
We ran out of printer paper last week, and I had a craft show application due that needed to be printed out and mailed in. No sweat! I planned a quick trip to the office supply store to pick up a pack of the next best thing to using no paper: 100% recycled paper.
Well, I thought it would be a quick trip. Instead, it turned into a good 45 minutes agonizing over the less-than-stellar options. The only 100% recycled paper was very expensive resume paper, and that's just not in my budget right now. I ended up buying a pack of Double A paper made from farmed trees and told myself that at least I wasn't killing an old growth forest for printing purposes. Unfortunately, it sounds like farmed trees have their own problems, mostly bio-diversity related.
In the spirit of helping you avoid going through what I did, here are some handy resources for 100% recycled office paper that won't break the bank. You can even find most of these in regular office supply stores!
Staples carries recycled 8.5" x 11" copy paper for just $8 per ream. Their paper is FSC-certified and endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance. $8 is a bit higher than you'd pay for virgin or 30% recycled but much cheaper than some of the fancier papers I've run across. It seems to be the standard price for recycled paper in brick and mortar locations.
It looks like Office Max carries Boise Aspen brand paper, which is handy! This paper is chlorine-free, made from 100% post-consumer content and starts at $8.50 per ream.
Some stores do carry New Leaf paper. In fact, that's the fancy, recycled resume paper that I saw on my trip to the office supply store. It turns out they make regular old printer and copy paper, too. It also goes for $8 a ream, so its' competitive with the Staples store brand and Boise Aspen, if you can find it.
Office Depot's recycled printer paper is acid free and FSC-certified, as well. It starts at $5.89 per ream. Quite a bargain!
The copy and printer paper at Treecycle is a little bit less expensive than most of the others, starting at $7 per ream. The only catch is that you have to order online, which means planning ahead. They offer some really interesting options, like paper made from sugar cane and Domtar Earth Choice, which is made with FSC-certified sustainably harvested wood and endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance. That one is just $5 per ream!
One last tip: if you're planning to hit a store for your paper needs, you might want to call ahead and make sure they stock what you're looking for. The shop I visited was one of these listed above, and they didn't have any 100% recycled printer paper at the location I visited.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by easternblot