Using recycled paper could be damaging the planet more than you know.

We are all aware of the effect our actions have on the environment, especially when it comes to recycling. So you’d think that buying recycled paper for our brochures, flyers and office printers would be a big thumbs up for the environment. But you’d be wrong.

Worldwide consumption of paper has increased by 400% in the last 20 years, and there are countless debates on which methods of conservation are the most efficient. At the time of writing this piece annual paper production is currently at 300 million tons (see here for the latest world paper production figures)

Larger carbon footprint than other paper stocks

The team at Proactive recently listened to a lecture from a leading Director in the print industry, who argued that recycled paper actually has a larger carbon foot print than paper manufactured from new materials.


His opinion was that although recycling saves space from landfill dumping, the amount of chemical and mechanical processes that recycled paper goes through to become reusable uses more energy than producing that paper from scratch. He explained that most responsible paper manufacturers since the start of the 21st century have been planting a higher ratio of new trees for every tree they cut down to use for pulping (at least 2 seedlings for every tree). They also now have 50 year business plans – which they couldn’t generate if they were not confident that their forestry was sustainable.

recycled paper - recycled printing

If you particularly want the look of recycled paper for your next printing project, you could consider choosing paper manufactured from raw materials. Raw material based paper has been produced in a way that gives it a lower quality, more “recycled” texture.

Paper fibres that have been separated from the rest of the pulp in a mechanical way tend to have shorter, rougher fibres and are more of a yellow colour.

On the downside, the paper is weaker but it would be very appropriate and much lower in cost if you wanted a less polished look, for example retro designs or you’re trying to convey a more environmental look to your finished items

If you would like more information or to talk to someone about printing call us  – we know a lot about recycled printing and alternative paper stocks that can give you the same look and feel without costing the earth (literally).

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