Wow, my first post on Paper Shop Ink. It kind of feels like the first page of a new notebook where you don’t know what to say or where to start. Isn’t the first page always the hardest?
As you can read in my bio, my company modernemotive focuses on producing paper goods using eco-friendly materials. Rest assured, today’s recycled papers are available in a myriad of colors, including the brightest whites and are meeting, if not exceeding, the technical standards when compared to virgin papers. With so many high-quality and accessible alternatives, there really is no reason for us not to consider these earth-friendly papers.
So, as Candis invited me to talk about eco-friendly stationery, for my first post, I thought I would demystify some of the words you may come across when you’re sourcing stationery or papers for your projects. For today, I’m going to focus on some of the key features I looked for when sourcing my materials. Let’s get on with it shall we?
Recycled content consists of materials that have been recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream. This occurs during either manufacturing (pre-consumer content) or after consumption (post-consumer content).
Post-consumer content – Post-consumer fibers are primarily derived from local recycling programs, meaning they are re-used after consumers discard and recycle them. Obviously, the higher the percentage of post-consumer content within a paper the better. My primary paper is 100% post-consumer content which I absolutely love and the quality is superb. Yes, I see ‘flecks’ here and there but for me, it just simply adds character to my work.
Pre-consumer content – These fibers are recovered from manufacturing waste so never land in the hands of the consumer. Therefore, this term should only be used for waste that typically would of been disposed of and not reused such as paper trimmings.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Papers
All of my papers (except my colored envelopes – for now) are FSC certified. What does this mean? Obviously, most papers contain wood fiber. However, if you choose FSC certified papers, you can rest assured that the paper has been harvested from a well-managed forest. The benefits of FSC certified forests extend to people, the wildlife and the environment. Even better, by choosing these options, you help reduce the amount of illegal logging, deforestation and other irresponsible social practices that can be prevalent in unregulated and non-FSC certified forests throughout the world.
Chlorine Free Paper
Thankfully, most paper mills today are protecting our water by choosing chlorine free manufacturing processes. Originally, the purpose of chlorine in the paper making process was to generate whiter paper by brightening the pulp. However, today paper mills are finding alternative options at their fingertips to get the same (or perhaps even better) results.
The three most common processes used for chlorine free whitening are:
Totally Chlorine Free Paper (TCF) – all chlorine processing is removed from the bleaching system, Instead, the paper is whitened using processes that include oxygen, peroxide and ozone bleaching systems. If a paper is made up of recycled content, the term TCF cannot be applied as it is impossible to know if the paper is TCF or not.
Process Chlorine Free Paper (PCF) – all chlorine has been removed from the secondary whitening process. This means no chlorine was added during the manufacturing. As the paper may contain recycled content, it cannot be labelled TCF, and therefore PCF is used in its place.
Elemental Chlorine Free Paper (ECF) - these papers have been whitened without “elemental chlorine” (gas) which is the worst of all chlorine. That said, some chlorine (likely dioxide) may of been used. Despite this, there are some benefits as by removing the elemental chlorine from the process they are also reducing dioxins and improving water quality. Every little bit helps.
Hmm, I think that’s enough demystifying for today don’t you? This was actually a great educational process for me and I hope for you too. You are still there aren’t you?
Okay, so no post is complete without some visual eye-candy. So, on a Etsy hunt I went to seek out some eco-friendly paper goodies.
In perfect time for Mother’s Day, check out this lovely card from Smock Paper. Don’t you just love the punch of pink atop the grey? It’s printed on 100% bamboo paper and to go one step further, 1% of your sale will go towards an environmental cause via the 1% For The Planet project. Yah for Smock Paper I say.
Perfect for decorating the nursery of a new baby or bedroom of a toddler, this poster from sweetbeets is sure to get the little ones (okay, maybe not the babies) counting in no time. Printed on 100% recycled cotton paper. Available in boys colors too!
Ah, I always love the work of Wendy from dozi, especially her notebooks. The cover of this lovely notebook is made from cardstock that is 80% recycled and 30% post-consumer content. The inner papers go a step further as they are 100% post-consumer content. Woot!
And lastly, by yours truly, some Hi notecards that are perfect for everyday use (various colors available). Printed on FSC certified 100% post-consumer paper and partnered with a FSC certified 30% post-consumer kraft envelope. It comes protected earth-friendly too as the cello sleeve is biodegradable and compostable.
Okay, the first page in my new “notebook” is written on – let the messy scribbles now begin. See you next Tuesday.