THE MYTH:

Only Recycled Paper Should Be Used

THE FACT:

Paper Made From Sustainable Forests Is Needed To Start The Paper Cycle

Two Sides Recycled Paper

Only Recycled Paper Should Be Used

WITHOUT NEW FIBRES, FROM NEW TREES, THE PAPER CYCLE CAN NOT BEGIN. RECYCLED FIBRES DEGRADE AFTER SEVERAL USES AND THE PAPER INDUSTRY NEEDS FRESH FIBRE FROM RESPONSIBLY MANAGED FORESTS TO KEEP THE RENEWABLE CYCLE GOING.

In choosing your paper you must consider its full life cycle and not just the fibre source. It's important to remember that virgin fibre is always required to make recycled paper possible in the first place. It is estimated that up to 48% of new wood fibre is currently needed to keep the global fibre cycle going (14).

'Maximising the use of recovered fibre - versus virgin fibre - in appropriate paper grades and under appropriate circumstances can be economically beneficial and specifically reduce environmental impacts. Maximising recycled content for its own sake without regard for product type, mill performance or mill location, however may produce much more serious - if unintended - negative environmental impacts and no economic rationale.'
Recycled Content and Virgin Fibre: Environmental, Economic and Technical Considerations for Magazine Publishers Metafore Inc June 2009

It is very difficult to directly compare the environmental impact of recycled and virgin fibre paper. Both are important and can have an equally strong environmental argument. Forests are part of the cycle that helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This extends from trees to wood and paper products, which continue to store the carbon through their lifetime and help to reduce climate change.

The fact that paper products are recyclable and renewable means that their lifecycle can be extended, prolonging this benefit and reducing waste into the bargain.

Like so many stories, there are two sides to the story of paper, but the more you know, the better placed you are to make the right decision.

Keeping waste paper in the loop, ensuring fibres remain available for re-manufacture, is key to sustainability.

Specify papers that can be recycled, grades made from recycled fibres or from virgin fibres that originate from certified forests.
Virgin fibre grades are needed to continue the cycle. Recycled fibres degrade after several uses.


(14) Hawkins Wright, 2013