How “green” is our recycled paper?

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Here’s an email we recently received:

I have been a loyal customer for 10 years now. I am becoming more aware of the environmental issues relating to paper use and deforestation, and will be rethinking my purchase of next year’s planner if recycled (not recyclable) paper isn’t used in producing it. Please let me know your plans for moving to recycled paper. This would be a major selling point for many customers as well as likely to be highlighted in the media, so a win-win-win solution for the company, customers and our environment. Thank you.
Emily S., Berkeley, CA

Thank you, Emily, for prodding us to include planners made entirely from recycled paper. This new line – Equology – will be available in the U.S. for the 2010 calendar year, possibly sooner.

But Emily, not all recycled paper is good for the environment. Actually, recycling papers can be very toxic when chemicals are used to de-ink the paper. There are a lot of questions we need to ask manufacturers of recycled paper products. It is not enough to say recycled!

While we are in process of developing recycled-paper planners, environmental commitment is more than offering just that option. It involves the entire landscape from the origin of raw materials to the moment the final agenda is packed to be shipped to a local store.

Where do the fibers come from? Is chlorine used to whiten the paper? How is the waste disposed of? What sources of energy are used in the manufacturing process? What inks are used in printing? What about water consumption and quality? What about the materials used in packaging and shipping?

Quo Vadis is planning to use a clean’ recycled paper, made by one of Clairefontaine’s Everbal plant. It is a 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper. It is NOT de-inked and not treated with any chemicals. The process is solely mechanical. Yet the white’ quality of the recycled paper is 78 to 80% ISO R457. They need only 107 Kg of old paper to make 100 Kg of recycled.

The paper is of archival quality and acid-free. The manufacturing process meets the requirements of the European Clean Water and Clean Air agencies.

But there is a second way to make paper and protect the environment: using wood pulp only from sustainable forests. There are two organizations right now who work at promoting reforestation: PEFC and FCS.

Wood products and papers which are certified PEFC or FCS (a demanding process) are not made from tree farms. They are come from forests managed with a sustainable harvest. These forests are managed to renew themselves while protecting bio-diversity.

When you select a PEFC or FCS product, be wood product or planner, you are supporting sustainable forest management. The current demand for such wood products is greater than the available certified forests. As demand increases more forests will be planted which are bio-diverse, sustainable, and respectful of indigenous populations’ needs.

Quo Vadis U.S. and our parent company in France have recently posted environmental statements on our websites.

Quo Vadis France and the Clairefontaine mill have been certified by Lloyd’s Quality Assurance-France SAS to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Environmental and Quality Management System Standards. Quo Vadis’ manufacturing plant in Hamburg, NY is currently undergoing an environment audit. I will post the results on this blog when it’s completed.

What environmental considerations are important to you?

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