|All-Occasion Greeting Cards, Holiday Cards, Note
Cards, Invitations and Announcements, Calendars, Wrapping Paper,
||Office Paper Products, School Paper Products
||Artwork and Gifts, Food Service, Furniture, Household
and Gardening, Packaging
HOLIDAYS AND MORE - GIVE A GIFT TO THE ENVIRONMENT,
So you're using recycled content copier paper in your
office, and your printer used recycled paper for your latest report.
You're doing good - but you wonder if there is more you can do.
Or maybe you don't work in an office. Are there still
environmental paper choices for you?
Well, do you send cards for the holidays? Look for
the most artistic, unique gifts? Wrap presents for birthdays? Buy
calendars for the New Year? Keep a datebook? Write or sketch in
a journal? Still write letters on stationery?
Maybe you're getting married or you're announcing
a new baby. Maybe your kids need more notebooks at school. Maybe
you're reorganizing your office space and need new hanging and file
folders. Or, if you've gone all-out green, your organic garden needs
mulching and your composting worms need new bedding - not to mention
your cat needs new kitty litter.
Keep in mind that the best way to reduce negative
impacts on the environment is to reduce unnecessary use of products.
So you might send e-cards to some friends and reuse a decorated
bag for gifts. Nevertheless, there are lots of times when you will,
indeed, send gifts, cards or announcements, or need office products.
Good news then - you're in luck! Environmental paper
choices exist for all of these products and many more.
By far, the largest array of environmental paper choices
is in greeting and holiday cards. Check those cards at your local
drugstore or cardshop. Three of Hallmark's lines have recycled content
- Shoebox Greetings, My Thoughts Exactly, and Comedy Club. You'll
find a number of specialized lines in retail stores, as well, such
as Leanin' Tree's Western and Native American art, Peaceable Kingdom's
illustrations from favorite children's books, Pomegranate's photos
and illustrations, and exclusive artist lines from Recycled Paper
Greetings. Lots more are available online and through the mail.
You can send cards for the holidays and support your
favorite cause by buying recycled content cards that benefit groups
like the Sierra Club, Audubon, UNICEF, Ducks Unlimited, or even
the National Railroad Museum and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum.
Sports? Try the National Golf Association or U.S.
Sailing. Both on recycled paper.
"Holidays" are not limited - the more the
better! There are cards for whatever means the most to you, with
inspirational zen messages from Brushdance accompanied by unique
artwork, celebration cards from Alternatives for Simple Living,
and Solstice cards from Rossetti Designs. You can plant the cards
from Green Field Paper Company and grow the seeds embedded in them,
or see how they turn junk mail into something useful. Many of these
sources and a lot more have year-round greeting cards and note cards,
Getting married? We're often asked where to get wedding
invitations printed on environmental paper. What a delight to find
several suppliers of both invitations and announcements, including
stock and custom designs!
While almost all the greeting and holiday cards on
our list have some recycled content, there are choices that add
in tree free fibers, as well. Green Field Paper Company has a line
of cards with 25% hemp. Tree-Free Greetings' wildlife and spectacular
fantasy cards include kenaf or flax. And if none of the huge selection
of photographs, artwork, line drawings or messages on all these
cards is quite right for you, Ecosource lets you create your own
cards on paper that combines flax, hemp and cotton, with matching
envelopes. Greg Barber Company will print your own designs on a
wide array of environmental papers, including chlorine free.
The paper used for greeting and holiday card production
usually falls within two types: uncoated cover weight paper (meaning
no glossy finish) and coated-one-side paper (known as C1S). C1S
paper, as the name implies, is coated on one side, usually with
a gloss surface, so the full color reproduction of photos and artwork
stands out. The other side is not coated so that the sender can
easily write on it with a ball point or felt tip pen.
Some may comment that the recycled content on some
cards and products seems low. In fact, the papers used for the cards
listed here reflect the state of recycled content papers today.
Most mills making recycled paper at least meet the de facto standard
used nationally of 30% postconsumer for uncoated papers, 10% postconsumer
for coated papers. A few are under it, many exceed it, and a few
go all the way to 100% recycled postconsumer. Ultimately, we would
like to see higher postconsumer contents in card papers. But at
this point, given that the vast majority of cards have no recycled
content whatsoever, all these companies are worth celebrating and
supporting for stepping up to the environmental plate.
From small note card businesses that exclusively use
100% postconsumer recycled content or tree-free papers to very large
publishers and distributors of greeting cards which produce at least
some of their card lines with recycled content, the choices for
cards on environmental papers are growing. Most of the cards label
their environmental content on the back, although not all do.
Unfortunately, the recycling logo without an accompanying
text explanation has been so misused that it is not a guarantee
of recycled content. Often it only means that the card can be put
into a recycling collection system when it's discarded - a good
candidate for the "Duh!" award. Text that tells the actual
environmental content is more reliable.
Gift Wrap Paper
Environmental paper choices suddenly shrink when looking
for gift wrap. You can buy unique designs on tree free paper from
Ecosource. You may also have more access to recycled content gift
wrap than you realize. The Sally Foster gift wrap that many schools
sell as a fundraiser includes several designs on strong, high quality
recycled paper, designated in the catalog by recycling logos (with
an explanation in the back pages).
Gift wrap is a "converted" product. This
means that the producer buys large rolls of paper from a paper mill
to print the gift wrap designs and then cuts the printed paper down
into the rolls and flat folded papers with which we're all familiar.
Sadly, most of the major converters and distributors of gift wrap
use a type of bleached packaging paper that has very little environmental
So it is especially good to show consumer demand for
recycled content gift wrap paper whenever you can find it, especially
since most is one-time-use only. Of course, you can create the "environmental
content" yourself by reusing paper for gift wrap or even using
the Sunday comics.
Can you imagine a clock made out of corrugated boxes?
Okay, now can you imagine it being one of the most intriguing, beautiful
artworks you've ever seen tell time? Maybe you'd rather have unique
picture frames or a backgammon board or even innovative tables.
You have to see Luci Lytle's recycled corrugated art, made from
"found" corrugated boxes that Luci finds exquisite ways
to reuse. Conservatree has given the clocks as awards to high-achieving
environmental paper buyers and we've been impressed with their beauty
The biggest, and most surprising, hole we found in
environmental paper options was in wall calendars. Despite the overwhelming
proliferation of beautiful, cute, fascinating, artistic, humorous,
sexy, scientific, religious, cosmic, hobby-related, and all other
types of calendars you can choose from, almost none of them are
printed on any kind of environmental paper. Most shocking of all,
even most of the calendars from environmental groups, as well as
nature calendars with messages about conservation and pictures of
endangered animals, beautiful landscapes and even national parks
and endangered forests, are all printed on 100% virgin forest fiber!
No recycled content at all.
The biggest reason for this lack, after "I've
never thought about it," seems to be the extremely high incidence
of printing these calendars in Asia because of lower costs. Some
of the calendar publishers, especially ones that have licensing
agreements with environmental groups, actually have tried to request
recycled paper for their Asian production. A couple believe they
have gotten it. But when Conservatree investigated, the answers
we got about the paper content from the printers, passed through
the publishers, were much too vague to suggest that they truly were
using recycled paper, or they were clear that they were not.
For this reason, the publishers that have made sure
their calendars are on recycled paper - Sierra Club, Wilderness
Society, and WildLight Press - are especially to be commended. We
have heard of some local and state park calendars on recycled paper,
as well, but have not gotten enough response yet to track them down.
The key to ensuring recycled paper, particularly with postconsumer
content, seems to be to print the calendars in North America. However,
we recognize the economic incentive for many of the calendar publishers
to print in Asia and are researching environmental papers from Japan,
Korea and other countries that publishers could require.
Calendar production is planned a year ahead of time,
so let your favorite calendar suppliers know now that you expect
them to print their next ones on recycled paper.
Meanwhile, be sure not to be fooled by words on the
back of the calendar that say it's "recyclable." That
just means that it could be put into a recycling collection system,
if there's one available near you. Instead, look for a notation
that it is "printed on recycled paper," or better yet
that it includes "postconsumer content." The Wilderness
Society even uses paper that is processed chlorine free. Even so,
we found calendars that say they're printed on recycled paper that
are, in fact, unlikely to be true. If they're not on our list, check
with us and we'll see if the content can be verified. If so, we'll
be glad to add them to our list!
One positive note - Any lingering doubts about image
reproduction quality on recycled content paper has disappeared.
Unlike in years past, we did not encounter any complaint that recycled
paper quality is inferior to virgin paper.
OFFICE AND SCHOOL PAPER PRODUCTS
There has been a major push over the past couple of
years to get recycled and environmental paper products into office
retail stores such as Staples, Office Depot and Office Max. ForestEthics
and Dogwood Alliance have led the negotiations, with lots of other
groups supporting them. Some office products have long offered recycled
paper options, and more are now becoming available.
Popular brands such as At-A-Glance, House of Doolittle,
Esselte, Ampad, Globe Weis, Pendaflex, Smead, Oxford, Avery, Ecology,
and Tops have recycled content lines of calendars, appointment books,
file folders, hanging folders, notepads, and spiral pads, as well
as other products. Staples and Office Depot have their own recycled
content house brands for some products. And you can write a check
for your purchases on recycled content checks from The Check Gallery
or Message Products.
You still have to look on many of the products for
text saying that they're made with recycled content. Most are not
promoted, although when you start looking, you're likely to find
that there are a lot more choices than you thought. Sometimes the
environmental paper option is the best price. Other times it's more
expensive than the non-recycled competitor. Why not consider paying
the difference, which is often small, on behalf of the environment?
Making it clear that people want recycled and other environmental
paper products will make them more available over time.
MORE ENVIRONMENTAL PAPER PRODUCTS
Seventh Generation has paper plates with 100% recycled/35%
postconsumer content and they're chlorine free - the only paper
plates with postconsumer content that we found. There are packaging
products available to the public that have recycled content, and
there is mulch, worm bedding and kitty litter. We haven't listed
any yet, but we know that there is insulation made from recycled
paper. Conservatree is researching and preparing a guide for tissue
and paper towel products that we plan to have available soon.
We expect our list to be constantly dynamic and growing.
By no means is it comprehensive and we never want it to be final.
If you provide an environmental paper product or know of a good
source, send us an e-mail about it and we'll consider it for inclusion.
Inclusion does not imply product endorsement, but it does celebrate
the product's environmental attributes. Your purchases of environmental
paper products celebrate them, too, and head us all in the direction
of environmentally sustainable paper production. Thanks!