Paper is one of the few truly sustainable materials. However, not all paper is equal in terms of environmental impact. We take a look at the importance of choosing environmentally sustainable paper products – and how you can be sure the paper you consume meets the strictest sustainability criteria.
As we all become more environmentally conscious, there’s a growing focus on ethical consumption. With global warming and other ecological crises becoming harder to ignore, consumers are acutely conscious of the fact that we have one planet with finite resources.
Recycling is an important step, but it’s not sufficient (it’s not like you can put fossil fuels back into the ground). The focus now is on sustainability and more environmentally friendly production processes.
It’s no surprise, then, that responsible forestry has become so important to the paper industry. Paper can be a renewable resource, but we have to ensure that we preserve the diversity of our forests and practice sustainable forest management.
But how can environmentally aware consumers choose the most sustainable paper products? After all, sustainably grown paper doesn’t look any different from any other kind of paper.
Certifying environmentally friendly paper products
Fortunately, there are internationally recognised certification processes that take the guesswork out of being an eco conscious paper consumer.
For example, paper products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council have been audited to confirm that they come from forests managed, in the words of the FSC, “preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring it sustains economic viability.”
There other two other major organisation promoting sustainable forestry. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is based in Geneva. PEFC certified paper products have to comply with strict forest management criteria in order to gain certification.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is a North American forest certification programme. SFI certified paper is subject to independently audited standards, and must meet strict environmental criteria.
Choosing a paper product certified by these organisations is an effective way of ensuring you make more sustainable choices, whatever your paper applications.
Learning from sustainable forestry
While effective forest management can ensure that paper production is sustainable and more environmentally friendly, there’s more we can do to nurture our environment.
Indeed, many countries have taken active steps to promote reforestation, planting new forests at a respectable rate across the globe.
These efforts are to be applauded, but not uncritically. After all, not all forests are equal.
Natural forests are complex ecosystems, comprised of a host of different species, and simple monoculture plantings may be no substitute.
What’s needed are ecologically diverse, sustainable afforestation programmes that work closely with local communities.
Peters Papers is committed to bringing you environmentally conscious paper products.
We only partner with environmentally accredited mills and the materials used in our paper come from sustainable products. Browse our unmatched range of sustainable paper products or get in touch with us and we’ll help you find the perfect paper for your next project.