It's been almost 5 years since we launched Green Paper Company. Back then we were hard at work researching truly eco-conscious paper production practices, sifting out the hype from the truth. We spent a lot of time on our labels, and the info they contained, explaining what we sell. What our paper is made of.
It seems that over the last few years there is a wane in green practices in the paper industry. It's disappointing as it seemed that the market was truly beginning to shift. Office suppliers are going back to 100% virgin fiber or raising prices dramatically for post-consumer recycled copier paper. WHY??? And in the boutique market, it seems that color trumps all. Many companies that sell color pulp papers are growing their lines, all with paper that contains zero, yes 0 percent post-consumer recycled pulp. WHY???
Today we received two items in the mail that really had us stunned. A greeting card with a questionable mission and a swatch deck of new colors from a paper company.
Let's start with the swatch book. Beautiful colors, 4 new additions to the line and to be fair, they were very clear about what they were selling. No green washing here. Just no green at all. 100% virgin paper. WHY??? We feel it is our responsibility if we are in the paper/stationery industry to use recycled paper. Why are so many mills still manufacturing so much 100% virgin wood paper?
On to the greeting card. The card (which was very cute) had a tag line "Clearly Green". We proceeded to read the not so fine print and there it was: 100% wood fiber. Sustainable harvested yes, but who wouldn't sustainably harvest wood these days? Reading on there was more: 100% recycled production waste. NOT post-consumer waste. Production waste.
To be clear... there is nothing "clearly green" about recycled production waste. Paper manufacturers have ALWAYS produced paper re-using the waste from their production runs. If they didn't, they would go broke! In industry jargon, manufacturing production waste paper pulp is called "mill broke". Sums it up doesn't it?! Don't be fooled--- if it is not post-consumer recycled... it's not what you think it is.
SO read your labels folks. Paper should contain a minimum of 30% POST-CONSUMER fiber. The remaining paper should be from sustainably managed forests or FSC certified. And if it's not chlorine bleach free- don't even consider it.