Pile of paper

One of the key questions we are often asked, especially in a day and age where being green is high on our agendas, is regarding paper types.  


‘Can we use recycled paper as we want to reduce our environmental impact as a company?’


Well the easy answer is, of course, yes……BUT…..


Proper recycled paper is when all off-cuts etc are re-pulped and bleached to get the colour back to white – just how you’d expect your paper to look.  However, these papers tend to be more expensive because of all the processing involved.  There is also an argument that although they are considered a nice environmentally friendly alternative, the chemicals used and carbon footprint of the processing, outweigh the benefits.  In addition to this, reports have shown that a paper can be labelled as ‘recycled’ when it contains as little as 30% recycled paper – though this may seem a little crafty, think of it this way – if you mix recycled and new pulp, you need less chemical to make it white…


A real player in the alternative to recycled paper nowadays, is sourcing paper from sustainable forests, which is where more trees are planted than are cut down (I immediately think of the Velvet toilet roll advert here!) and the forest is managed to ensure wildlife and eco-systems are promoted – as it only works to the advantage of the paper industry to promote healthy trees grown in healthy environments.


In the UK and Europe all forests used for paper have to be sustainable, in fact Europe as a whole has seen an increase in the size of it’s forest by 30% since 1950.  The UK also forests considerably less than it’s European counterparts – 12% compared to their average of 45%, so on that front we are doing rather well!


For more facts on forestry, please do take the time to have a look at the Confederation of Paper Industries’ website


At AC Print Ltd we source the majority of our paper from Antalis, who are committed to sustainable development, using responsible environmental practices, so you can be assured of our use of reputable suppliers.  Antalis‘ sustainability strategy relies on 3 pillars:

  1. Ecological products and services
  2. FSC multi-site certification
  3. Robust supplier code of conduct


If you would like to learn more about this, please click here to be re-directed to the Antalis website.


Looking around on the internet you will find arguments for and against recycled vs sustainable paper, with various facts and figures thrown around which mainly contradict one-another and add to the confusion. Facts are being used to support whichever view the writer of the particular piece takes.  The long and short of it seems to be, quite simply, that the UK paper industry is now so heavily regulated you can be confident that whether using recycled or non-recyled paper, that every effort is made to ensure sustainability and reduce the impact on the environment.


With progress being made in all areas this is definitely a sector working  hard and innovating to constantly better itself.  And lets be fair, it’s not in the paper industry’s interest to wipe out all the trees – once they’re gone, they can’t make any more money….


The deciding factor then, is down to price.



Written by:

Joanne Holloway




Photo Credit: striatic via Compfight cc


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