Eco friendly paper trail: a journey of paper from forest to consumer

Posted in: Opinion

Since its creation, since man could make a mark on paper, paper has made a mark on life. Whether it’s books, love letters, official documents, or important correspondence, paper has told the history of mankind.

Two copies of President Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten 1863 Gettysburg Address reside in argon-filled, temperature-controlled display cases in the Library of Congress. Anne Frank’s diary, written while she hid in an attic between 1942 and 1944, is an international bestseller. Her original handwritten diary is on display at her family’s hiding location, now a museum in the Westermarkt district of Amsterdam.

Paper often increases in value, based on what’s written or printed on it. Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the Codex Leicester, is filled with his ideas and sketches of astronomy, botany, architecture, maths, and mechanics. It was bought at auction in 1994 for $30.8 million. Paper money was invented around AD 806 in China. The first consistent use of paper money in Europe was in 18th century France. Britain has used paper money since 1725, with polymer notes only recently introduced, in 2016.

Paper Chase

Using recycled materials dates back to ancient times. Whereas, the first recorded instance of recycled paper can be dated to 1031, in Japan. In the UK, paper recycling began more than a century ago, when the British paper industry developed a de-inking process. This process allows the removal of inks and other contaminants from recovered paper, ready for recycling. Paper fibres shorten each time they’re recycled, to a maximum of seven times before the fibres become too weak for recycling. Today, more than 78% of paper is recovered and recycled. So we know where the paper we use ends up. But where does the paper trail begin?

Making the Papers

Google “deforestation”, and it will return around 107,000,000 results. Our environmental impact is mentioned from the papers to parliament, and we are constantly encouraged to use sustainable practices.

The global need for paper means that harvesting trees for paper production will inevitably continue for the foreseeable future. It’s how this is managed, from forest to consumer, that will make a difference.

We all know that the vast majority of paper comes from trees. But did you know that not all trees are equal? For example, mill-produced traditional paper from long cellulose fibers is strong and durable. For this, softwood trees like fire, pine, and spruce are used. Hardwood trees have short cellulose fibers. Birch, oak, and maple create delicate, more opaque paper, such as is used in telephone directories and newspapers.

Trees are cut and removed from the forest, and typically transported by truck, to be processed at a paper mill into wood pulp. The pulping process can be carried out chemically, also known as Kraft pulping, which creates strong paper. Mechanical pulping, where wood is ground to pulp, creates lower-strength paper. Chemicals are used to bleach pulp to the desired colour.

The pulp is sprayed onto mesh screens, before undergoing processes to remove the water, and compress it into a single roll of paper with the desired thickness. Colours and coatings are added, before the paper is cut to size, ready for use.

The Paper Trail

Galloways use paper and paper packaging from forests that bear the FSC’s Chain of Custody Certification. This certification guarantees that the paper came from a sustainably managed forest. This greatly reduced the overall environmental impact.

The original pioneers of forest certification, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests, bringing together experts from the “environmental, economic, and social spheres”. Choosing the FSC means you are joining a revolutionary concept: a voluntary, market-based approach that will improve forestry practices worldwide.

The FSC Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certificates track certified wood and other raw materials from forest to manufacturer to store shelf, and confirm that an item that bears the FSC and Rainforest Alliance Certified trust marks actually contains certified products.

When you choose to work with Galloways, you are choosing to work with leaders in print sustainability. We are one of only a handful of Carbon Balanced Printers, and we are proud to support the World Land Trust (WLT).

WLT works with partner organisations and local communities to protect and preserve threatened forests and habitats – more than 2 million acres in 20 countries, including the UK – avoiding the release of stored carbon dioxide from the trees and plants that would have otherwise been destroyed. Galloways is balancing the equivalent of 207 tonnes of carbon dioxide, enabling World Land Trust to protect and restore 39,537 square metres of threatened tropical habitat in Ecuador, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Galloways can reduce your carbon footprint and your overall environment impact. We exclusively offer our customers carbon balanced print, and carbon balanced paper-based packaging, bearing the Carbon Balanced Print logo*, and we can offset any European produced fibre-based material.

Contact us today on 01625 870000, and ask us about our eco-friendly paper for your next print job. Work with your friendly sustainable printer, and leave a conservation legacy that won’t cost the earth.

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