Recycled paper is sometimes trickier to track down than its conventional counterpart. Office supply stores often stock only a limited number of options, and even shopping online for recycled paper can be a little bit cumbersome. Have you ever stood in the aisle at the store thinking it's not worth the trouble?
A Case for Recycled
Conventional paper production is a huge polluter. From destroying virgin forests to contaminating water supplies, making paper is tough on the planet. It takes a ton of energy and resources to create printer paper, notebooks, and all of the other paper products we use every day.
The paper industry does replant trees to replace the ones it cuts down to make paper, but according to the Environmental Defense Fund, that's "not the same thing as preserving forests." Instead, they replace old growth forests with tree plantations. These tree farms lack a forest's biodiversity, meaning they destroy the habitats where native flora and fauna once thrived.
Not only does choosing recycled save forests, it saves water. Recycled paper takes 47% less water to make than virgin paper. According to Gilles L’Hermitte, Sustainability Development Manager at paper manufacturers Arjowiggins Graphic, "You need water to grow the trees, clean the wood, separate out the cellulose from the lignin, turn the pulp into paper, and then steam dry it."
It takes about 30 cubic meters of water to produce a ton of virgin paper pulp and only 9 cubic meters for recycled. That's a huge difference!
Need some help finding recycled paper to fit your needs? We've got some resources to help you out!
- Here are five reasonably priced options for recycled printer paper.
- Magazine publishers can check out Futuremark's 90% recycled paper.
- For packaging and shipping supplies, Treecycle is an excellent source for recycled alternatives.
- While there are lots of ways to repurpose other items for wrapping gifts, if you have your heart set on paper gift wrap, Greenfield Paper has some lovely recycled options.
What are some other paper products that you'd like to replace with recycled alternatives?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by fionab