What are you printing on?

Joel Neuheimer, Director, Market Affairs at Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) answers some of our paper questions in this interview:

How much recycled content should I look for in my paper?

We recommend that buyers adopt a life-cycle approach as a guiding framework. While some issues may be more important than others, taking a single criterion approach to sustainable practices may not ensure long-term sustainability.

For example, a procurement policy needs to address products made with both recycled content and fresh fibre. This is important for a number of reasons. Any measurement of the environmental benefits of recycled fibre must consider whether waste paper has to be transported long distances or if brighter paper grades need additional processing. Life cycle assessment may show that harvesting and processing fresh fibre from sustainably managed forests can also offer an excellent environmental choice.

In addition, the paper fibre cycle depends on fresh fibre from well-managed forests as well as a strong recovered paper supply network. Recycled fibre breaks down with each use and about 15 per cent of paper products, such as tissues and documents stored for extended periods of time, cannot be recycled. A recent study found that without fresh fibre from sawmill residues and harvesting, paper supplies would disappear in weeks to months depending on the grade of paper.

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview in upcoming blog posts.

About Michael Hornung

Michael is an Accounts Receivable Representative at Softchoice.