Paper Comparison. Which recycled paper should you buy?

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Paper Comparison

Which recycled paper should you buy?

I used to buy tree free paper thinking that it would be better for the environment especially forests. Tree free paper includes paper made of sugarcane or bamboo. But in recent years it has been difficult to find tree free paper in the United States. There used to be one called Sustainable Earth by Staples (95% sugar cane) but it is always out of stock now. There also used to be treeless paper at Walgreens called Ology made out of sugarcane husks and bamboo. I can no longer find it. The only Tree Free paper I have been able to find lately is Tree Zero (bagasse recycled sugarcane waste fiber). It used to be TreeFrog. It is expensive and usually has to be ordered and bought in bulk.

So I have turned to buying recycled paper. But which recycled paper should I buy? Which recycled paper is best for the environment? In recent years USA paper making companies have gone on a campaign to say that paper making grows forests and that they grow more trees in the USA than they harvest. So then should we use recycled paper instead of non-recycled paper? After a lot of research my short answer is YES.

We should continue to recycle and buy recycled products because paper producing companies making the claim that "In North America we grow many more tress than we harvest" only tells part of the story. It doesn't tell the story of biodiversity. Are they planting the native trees that used to be in the area or only a couple of types of trees that are good for paper making? What about the variety of plant life and animal life that used to be in the forests? With all the clear cutting and large equipment how is the flora and fauna being affected? What about the paper making process? Is it destructive to the environment? Are there more trees in all areas of the United States or just a few forests used for paper making? I don't have the answer to all of these questions but I am looking for the answers.

ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free)

Paper that is bleached using ECF methods or Elemental Chlorine Free usually uses Chlorine Dioxide to bleach the paper. This method reduces the amount of dioxin in the waste water but does not totally eliminate it. PCF is generally a better method.

PCF (Processed Chlorine Free)

Recycled paper that uses PCF methods or Processed Chlorine Free do not use chlorine or chlorine derivatives to bleach the paper. They may use Oxygen, ozone, or hydrogen peroxide to bleach the paper. However, the original paper that is used to make the recycled paper may have originally been bleached with chlorine when it was virgin fiber.

SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative)

Paper with SFI certification is good but not great. SFI does not have as strict standards as FSC when it comes to herbicide and pesticide use. SFI doesn't seem to completely protect old growth forests but just has a conservation plan for old growth forests. SFI allows the use of GMO. SFI allows natural forests to be converted into plantations.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

Paper that is certified by FSC is better than SFI certification. FSC puts stricter limits on the use of pesticides. FSC prohibits the use of GMO. FSC prohibits the conversion of natural forests into plantations. FSC prohibits harvesting and road construction in old-growth forests.

Brand Type Sheets Price Store Certification Made In Acid Free Chlorine Free (Bleach) Agent LB Weight Brightness Size
Hammermill 100% Recycled 500 $8.72 Amazon FSC USA Yes PCF* 20 92 8.5 X 11
Hammermill 50% Recycled 500 $10.09 Amazon SFI USA Yes ECF* Chlorine Dioxide* 20 92 8.5 X 11
HP 30% Recycled 500 $11.99 Amazon FSC USA Yes ECF* Chlorine Dioxide* 20 92 8.5 X 11
PrintWorks 100% Recycled 400 $13.97 Amazon SFI* USA Yes* PCF* Hydrogen Peroxide* 20 92 8.5 X 11
Staples 100% Recycled 500 $13.68 Staples FSC USA* Yes ECF* Chlorine Dioxide* 24 95 8.5 X 11
Staples 100% Recycled 500 $13.26 Staples FSC USA* Yes ECF* Chlorine Dioxide* 20 92 8.5 X 11
Staples 50% Recycled 500 $13.88 Staples FSC USA* Yes ECF* Chlorine Dioxide* 24 96 8.5 X 11
TreeZero 100% Recycled Sugarcane 500 $16.65 Amazon Yes ECF Chlorine Dioxide 20 92 8.5 X 11
Tru Red Printer Paper 500 $5.99 Staples Yes 20 92 8.5 X 11
Hammermill Copy Plus 500 $5.00 Staples FSC USA Yes Yes 20 92 8.5 X 11
HP Office20 500 $5.99 Staples FSC USA Yes Yes 20 92 8.5 X 11

* This information was not found on the package or the website. I had to contact the company to get this information.

Staples

 

Hello,

I have a couple of questions about Staples brand 100% and 50% recycled paper.

1. Are they chlorine free?

2. Are they made in USA?

Thank you,

Jeff

 

Hello,

 

Thank you for contacting Staples. The answer to both of your questions are yes. They are chlorine free and made in the USA. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. Thank you for using Staples. Have a great day.

 

Kirsten T.

 

Customer Service Representative

 

Hello,


Thank you very much for the response. Can you tell me about the bleaching process for Staples brand recycled paper? What agent is used such as oxygen or peroxide?


Thank you,

Jeff

Good Evening Jeff,

Thank you for your request. Please go to our website for questions about any of our products and their ingredients as many questions and facts are listed there.

Warmest regards,

Latricia B

Customer Service Representative

Hello,

I did go to the website but I did not find any information about the bleaching process for the Staples recycled paper.

Jeff

Staples answered:

"Chlorine Dioxide"

PrintWorks

https://pariscorp.com/

Good afternoon Jeff,

Thank you for your inquiry, our Printworks 100 Percent Recycled Multipurpose Paper is Acid Free and SFI Certified.

Let us know if you have any additional questions.

Debbie Beckett

Customer Service Manager

Thank you for your response. Can you tell me about the bleaching process for the Printworks 100% recycled paper? What bleaching agent is used?

 

Thank you,

Jeff

HI Jeff,

According to the paper manufacturer:  In our recycling process, hydrogen peroxide is used for bleaching. All of the paper we produce is process chlorine free (PCF).

Thanks,

Deb

Debbie Beckett

Customer Service Manager

Why do you wrap your paper in plastic?

While it may seem as if paper wraps are better for the environment, they are NOT recyclable. Paper wraps have a waxy coating on the inside which makes them non-recyclable. No matter the type of wrap, there needs to be some sort of moisture barrier to protect the paper inside. If not, customers would receive their paper damaged. The plastic wrap on our reams of paper can be recycled where category 5 flexible plastics are accepted.

https://pariscorp.com/environment/

As members of both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), we are committed to improving the environment and our impact. We only procure paper from certified North American suppliers who are committed to preserving forests through responsible forest management. This means the paper you buy does not come from endangered forests, and the wildlife ecosystems created in the forests are maintained. These sustainable practices ensure healthy and abundant forests for present and future generations, while providing renewable, natural, raw materials for the production of paper and packaging products (AF&PA).

 

HP

HP Printer Paper Recycled30

http://www.internationalpaper.com/products/na/papers/office-papers/hp-papers/product-detail/hp-recycled

Elemental chlorine free

Good Morning Jeff,

 

Thank you for contacting International Paper. Our HP Home Office Products are ECF, Elemental Chlorine Free. If we may be of any additional assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you,

Jasmine

Consumer Response Service Center

McCarty Printing

Doing Business for International Paper

Elemental chlorine free (ECF) is a technique that uses chlorine dioxide for the bleaching of wood pulp.

Totally chlorine free (TCF) is paper that does not use any chlorine compounds for wood pulp bleaching.

Hammermill

Good afternoon Jeff,

Thank you for contacting Hammermill. The virgin pulps used in these paper products are bleached using a process which employs no elemental chlorine and no elemental chlorine is added to these products during manufacture. The recycled fiber used in some of these paper products is processed during repulping and preparation for papermaking without the use of chlorine in any form, and as such can be correctly described as Process Chlorine Free, or PCF. With the exception of HAMMERMILL Great White 100 paper products, these products contain some amount of virgin fiber and are therefore correctly described as elemental chlorine free (or 'ECF'). There should be no elemental chlorine in them as shipped or delivered. Our HAMMERMILL Great White 100 paper products contain only recycled fiber and can be correctly described as process chlorine free, or PCF. We hope this information has been helpful and if further assistance is needed, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hello, What bleaching agent is used for the HAMMERMILL?Great White?100 paper that is PCF? Thank you, Jeff Good morning Jeff,

International Paper's HAMMERMILL Great White 100 is manufactured using 100% post-consumer recycled fiber on a fiber weight basis.  The recovered post-consumer fiber was bleached prior to its initial use.  After recovery, it is deinked and repulped to make the Great White 100, but is not subjected to further bleaching processes.  Thank you, Hammermill Consumer Response Service Center internationalpaper.com TreeZero

May 4, 2020

Hello,

 

I have a couple of questions about TreeZero paper?

 

What country is it made in?

Does it have any certifications?

Thank you,

Jeff

  https://ocshredding.com/2013/03/09/pcf-vs-ecf-why-chlorine-free-paper-matters-2/ - Paper that is processed chlorine free (PCF) uses ozone, oxygen and/or peroxide to bleach the paper. This method uses no chlorine, thus significantly reducing the amount of harmful waste produced by the process.

Last updated on March 5, 2021
Created on March 2, 2021

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