Making Sense of Recycled Papers

When you see the recycled logo on products, what do you think? Most of us, with good, green intentions often feel we’re being eco-friendly by virtue of grabbing anything with the recycled logo on the label without knowing that there are two different types of recycled content in products: “pre-consumer” and “post-consumer”. In the paper world, there are three types of recycled paper, the sheets manufactured with pre-consumer waste, those produced with post consumer waste, and those produced with both pre and post consumer waste content. Many paper vendors will tell you that the majority of paper in the market place always has some sort of recycled content in it as the paper mills typically recycle the left over pulp from one production run into the next batch. But the more “Eco-Friendly” recycled papers are those that contain post consumer waste.

Pre-consumer recycled paper is basically paper that has not hit the market place. It was not your newsletter or brochure, nor was it that mailing that you did to your customers. It’s the paper waste or pulp waste that is left over from making those materials. The paper mills also have pre-consumer recycled paper when they produce the rolls for web presses or they sheet the paper for offset sheet-fed presses such as what we use in our production process.

Post-consumer recycled paper is anything that has reached its end user and is then recycled, thereby diverting the waste from landfills. This includes the brochures, letters, envelopes, newsletters, etc that you give to your clients or customers as well as waste from the print production process. R. C. Brayshaw & Company recycles all trimming waste that is generated in the production of the printed materials that we deliver to you. This “post-consumer” content represents the more valuable aspect of recycling and is normally what many consumers are looking for in their paper.

There are many levels of paper with post-consumer waste (PCW) ranging from 10% all the way up to 100%. On the open market you will often find that uncoated papers typically contain a higher PCW content than do coated papers simply because of the cost of manufacturing. There are some coated stocks on the market that can contain a high PCW such as Chorus Art (50% PCW) up to the line from New Leaf Paper which can contain up to 100% PCW (Reincarnate Matte). The higher end sheets such as McCoy contain 10% and then you can go to Galerie Art which contain 15%.

Either way you want to go, having some recycled content in your paper is becoming more and more accessible. There are numerous choices in both coated and uncoated stock that can meet your needs. Please feel free to contact our offices to get samples of both coated and uncoated options of paper for your next project.

For more in-depth information on how the paper and print industries continue to make strides on environmental issues feel free to visit http://www.paperrep.com/content/environment.aspx. This website is co-sponsored by the paper vendor Lindenmeyr Munroe and global paper manufacturer, International Paper.

Editor’s Note: This article written by none other than our chief estimator and paper specialist, Josh Adams!

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