It’s Earth Day. Let’s talk about environmentally-friendly papers. What’s best? What things should you take into consideration when choosing a sheet for your print project and client?
Post Consumer Waste (PCW)
The percentage you see in front of the PCW mark on swatchbooks will tell you how much recycled pulp is contained in a paper. Pick the highest content that is best for your job. We say that because it’s easy to find a 100% PCW sheet in text and cover papers. But finding that kind of PCW content in a coated sheet is super challenging for many reasons. For one, if you want the coated to be smooth and without blemish, it’s really hard for a coated sheet to go over 10-30% PCW to keep the surface finish pristine for ink adhesion. Also, cracking on the fold can become an issue with coated sheets that have PCW percentages that extend past 30%. All these things that are issues with coated sheets enhance the stiffness and beauty of the uncoated sheets with high PCW contents.
Sometimes you’ll want to pull trees completely out of the equation for a printed project. We offer sheets that are made completely tree-free from bamboo, hemp, sugarcane (bagasse), linen and cotton. Although some of these sheets are visibly very clean, sometimes small particles can be seen and are to be expected. We offer some of these alternative fiber sheets in-stock and others we procure for you by special order.
Where is your paper coming from? If you choose a paper that is manufactured far away in another country, you cancel out all the green aspects of the sheet you’ve chosen by getting it transported from another country. You may want to think about buying American.
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash to a landfill. It may be important that the paper you pick be recyclable or biodegradable. We can help you make this important choice. Most papers are. Benefits of recycling include reducing landfill space, conserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is a third party certification system that insures that the paper and pulp are procured from well-managed forests. Although, not an issue in North America, in places like China, it is. Let’s face it, sometimes your buying decision is based on price. Many low cost sheets, especially coated ones are imported from these areas. Make sure they are FSC certified or pay a bit more for an American manufactured, FSC sheet.
Get in touch with your O-K representative with any more green questions. Happy Earth Day!