The practice of recycling paper has been a mainstay in environmentally friendly measures for years. It saves once-used paper from ending up in landfills and releasing harmful chemical emissions that have contributed to ozone depletion. Recycling also helps paper producers save on the costs of electricity and water required to make more frequent batches of new paper. Business owners and individuals who complete print-based projects can reap several benefits from purchasing and using recycled paper. It is not only an environmentally friendly practice; it adds up to a financially practical one as well.
The Basic Process of Recycling Paper
Paper manufacturing mills that produce recycled paper use a few different steps from traditional paper fabrication. All paper manufacturing needs a type of raw material called feedstock to create the fibers tightly woven into every finished sheet. Instead of raw material derived from wood, once-used paper is used as the feedstock for recycled paper. Once this feedstock is mixed with water to create a pulp substance, paper mill equipment presses this material through a sieve to remove any ink, dirt or other impurities from the paper feedstock. The resulting material can then be pressed into recycled paper.
Advantages of Printing on Recycled Paper
Business owners who switch to recycled paper for their offices are engaging in sustainable practices that reduce their companies’ overall carbon emissions. Recycled paper in bulk is priced the same or even slightly lower per unit than freshly manufactured paper. Contrary to some misconceptions, professional-grade recycled paper is not of a lower quality than traditionally manufactured paper. In fact, recycled paper has better quality grains, weights or finishes.
Print Projects That Can Benefit from Recycled Paper
- Magazines and books. Despite claims that printed books are declining, a market for them and for printed magazines still exists. The rise of on-demand printing now allows any author or independent magazine creator to publish smaller numbers of copies to sell to their readers. Using recycled paper is a significant step towards making on-demand printing a sustainable practice.
- Business cards and flyers. Small business owners, freelancers and independent contractors still frequently pass out paper business cards or flyers to prospective clients. A number of printers now offer high caliber, eye-catching printed cards and flyers using recycled paper.
- Brochures and catalogs. Recycled paper with a glossy finish has become more easily accessible and reasonably priced in recent years. Printing product brochures or image-rich catalogs on this kind of paper carries few if any extra costs, and companies that adopt this practice often get great feedback from environmentally conscious consumers.
- Special event invitations. Weddings, engagement parties, graduations and many other occasions come with printed invitations for customers who prefer them. The paper used for them is often fabricated with custom textures and finishes for visual appeal. Manufacturing technologies for recycled paper have evolved enough for printing companies to be able to choose from a wide variety of paper colors, textures and finishes.
Recycled Paper and Green Office Practices
Buying and printing on recycled paper is one of several practices to adopt for an eco-friendly office, particularly for print companies that use large volumes of paper on a regular basis. Paper mills that specialize in recycled paper use 60-70% less energy to produce it, and many of them are able to pass these savings on to their clients. Along with using supplies of recycled paper, printing company owners can continue sustainable green practices even after completing client orders. These include shredding scrap paper and sending it to local paper recycling facilities. Such practices collectively work to reduce toxic emissions and high levels of energy use that come with paper manufacturing.