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.
These are three types of symbols to look for:
Green Certification Programs
The Forest Stewardship Council certifies the paper came from sustainably harvested forests.
Green Seal certifies many green products, including paper.
Environmental Choice is a Canadian government environmental certification.
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.
When you see this symbol with the words "100% Recycled Fiber" or no words underneath, it means the product is made from 100-percent recycled fibers.
A symbol lists the percent recycled below it tells you the paper product was partially made from recycled fibers.
Many paper products are bleached and this uses chlorine or chlorine compounds which can be very damaging to the environment.
A green leaf symbol indicated recycled papers that have been processed without chlorine.
A purple leaf symbol indicates non-recycled papers that have been processed without chlorine.
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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