Recycled Paper

As we try and switch over to recycled paper in the library, many questions and issues arise. The cost – why is it more than virgin paper? What type of recycled paper do we want to buy?  And some people say that the recycled paper jams their printers.

Here are some answers I found exploring this recycled paper topic:

High cost? think economies of scale: virgin paper mills are well established while recycled paper mills are still developing on a smaller scale.  Also,  the gathering, refining, treating (in the most e-friendly way) to produce recycled paper costs more than just creating virgin paper. And recycled paper incorporates all its costs into the product (such as alternative to disposal) and is not rewarded fiscally for its significantly lower energy and water use. Virgin paper costs receive generous government timber, energy, and water subsidies and do not incorporate responsibility or costs for the product’s eventual disposal. And the consumerism factor – if more people buy it and there is more a market for the product, more competition in the market, and companies realize this is what people want (to pay for what they value) costs will eventually go down but in the end, you get what you pay for.

Recycled paper jamming a problem? Some reasons why: a bad batch of paper, poor maintenance of copier machine, improper storage of paper (allowing moisture to affect sheets), improper handling of paper (not fanning paper out, not loading paper according to grain, not allowing paper to warm up (or cool down) to match the temperature of the copier room), the user must be sure to orient the curl of the paper in the correct direction; too much dust in a copier room can be a killer, etc.  (Info from the Federal Network of Sustainability)  Here are some other articles on this topic:  Recycled Paper The Best Choice | National Assoc of Paper Merchants | Green Purchasing at Yale

More Recycling…

This blog I subscribe to How Can I Recycle This? is a great place to check out recycling ideas of all kinds: from gadgets (How can I reuse or recycle broken digital cameras & MP3 players? ) to art (How can I make a notebook out of recycled materials?) Have something odd at your library you want to discard – why not search their site and see what is suggested as a way to reuse or recycle it or add your own ideas.  If nothing else, it’s fun to see how creative people are!

Recycled Paper

Check with your supplier to find out if you library is purchasing recycled office paper. (or, encourage your institution to find a more earth friendly paper supplier.)  Look for at least 30% of higher post-consumer when buying recycled paper. This means the original paper wasn’t recycled scrap from the mill but was actually used for something first and is now being recycled. Also check to make sure chlorine wasnt used in the process and that the original wood fiber was manufactured from sustainable growth.

New Leaf Paper is a company to check out for recycled office paper.