Submitted: The Two Sides Team August 1, 2012
Your guide to paper and sustainability. July 30, 2012
by Boise Choices – Triple Pundit
Making sustainable choices doesnt have to be stressful; it can start
with something as small as making a smart decision about office paper.
Paper selection can have a big impact on efficiency, waste and
contributing to sustainability goals.
There are many types to
consider when choosing office paper recycled content, brightness,
basis weight, etc. Then theres inkjet paper, laser paper, color output
paper and literally hundreds of others. Does it make a difference? In a
word, yes. Weve compiled some tips for making better paper choices.
Know your logos
Last week we talked about FSC®, SFI and other standard-setting organizations. These easy-to-spot logos help identify paper from certified sources.
Whats the story with your printer?
printers can print photos and graphics at a very high resolution. But
in order to achieve a high-quality output, you need to choose a paper
that has characteristics designed for color printing. Otherwise, you
may find that the results you intended dont match the output, leading
to added waste.
If your printer is jamming, it may, in fact, be
the paper, not the printer. Its important to store your paper
properly. If youre already following the storage guidelines, try
switching your brand of paper to one that is performance-certified or
that has a jam-free guarantee. These quick tips can potentially save
your company budget from costly printer maintenance calls or purchasing
Get what you pay for
you ever wondered why recycled-content paper often has a higher price
point than paper made from virgin pulp? Recycled paper has a more
complex supply chain and production process than virgin paper, and its
those extra steps that primarily account for the extra cost.
virgin paper, there are just three steps from the forest to the printer
logging, milling and distribution. Producing recycled paper requires
many more steps with the first (and often costliest) being used paper
collection and recovery.
most commingled, single-stream recycling operations, the paper gets
shipped to a materials recovery facility (MRF) for sorting by manual and
mechanical processes into separate paper grades. Then, it is sent to a
paper mill in bales, where the recovered paper is stored until needed.
the recovered paper gets re-pulped, heated and mixed to form slurry, or
a kind of paper soup. The purpose of this step is to break down the
paper into its fibrous elements tiny strands of cellulose that form
the building blocks of most commercial paper grades.
No matter how
well its sorted, recovered paper often contains impurities that must
be removed before making new paper. Screening (running the pulp through a
fine mesh screen) and cleaning (spinning the pulp in a centrifuge) will
help eliminate metal, plastic or adhesive pieces (stickies) that can
affect the strength and uniformity of recycled paper products.
If youd like to see how this process works, check out the video of one of Boises paper mills in action.
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