Choosing the right paper made using sustainable methods is an important way to confront climate change and protect wildlife. When you go to the store, and stand in front of the many reams, or packages, of paper, it's hard to know what to buy.

close-up of recycled paper

These are three types of symbols to look for:

Green Certification Programs

Recycled Content

The chasing arrows symbol is the universal symbol of recycling. But some paper products are made from 100 percent recycled fibers, while others are partially made from recycled fibers.

Chlorine Use

Many paper products are bleached and this uses chlorine or chlorine compounds which can be very damaging to the environment.

There are many types of paper used in homes and offices, but the basic type is called "uncoated freesheet." These symbols should help you purchase environmentally-friendly uncoated freesheet. But if you have paper needs that go beyond this "workhorse of papers," such as paper for posters, books, or magazines, then we recommend consulting resources such as Conservatree.

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