Recently we had a client asking about just how environmentally friendly recycled paper is, as they’d heard that the sheer volume of industrial chemicals used in the recycling process outweighed the benefits.
We felt we had the responsibility to do lay out the facts to help point our customers down the best path.
There are a few different methods for creating recycled paper, some of which are more environmentally-friendly than others. For print-quality recycled paper, the ink has to be removed from the pulp through either washing, flotation or both, neither of which are particularly damaging to the environment. The ink removed in the process(es) can then be put to various other uses including compost or road material.
The issue comes when the paper is then bleached to get it as white as possible. The idea of this being environmentally-unfriendly comes from when chlorine bleach was most commonly used; nowadays the most common agent is hydrogen peroxide which breaks down to water and oxygen and is much kinder to the planet.
Where possible we use environmentally-friendly recycled or FSC-certified paper.