Recycled Paper - Recycled paper is a broad term with
multiple variations. Plainly stated, recycled paper is a grade
of paper that contains recycled (postconsumer and/or
presconsumer) fiber. There are recycled paper grades that range
from 10% postconsumer to 100% postconsumer recycled. The U.S.
EPA has developed guidelines for federally funded purchases that
require a minimum of 30% post-consumer content for uncoated
printing and writing paper. These standards are generally
accepted as de facto (but voluntary) national standards.
Virgin Fiber Paper - Virgin fiber paper is manufactured
without the use of any recycled or alternative fibers. Trees are
the typical source of the virgin fiber used in the papermaking
process. However, virgin fibers can be sourced from agricultural
by-products and alternative fibers.
Postconsumer Fiber - Executive Order 13101 defines "postconsumer
material" as a material or finished product that has served its
intended use and has been discarded for disposal or recovery
having completed its life as a consumer item. This is a
preferred fiber because it is used in the production of new
products instead of being incinerated or sent to a landfill.
Recovered office paper waste makes up the majority of
postconsumer fiber content that is used to make recycled copy
and printing papers.
Preconsumer Fiber - Pre-consumer fiber materials have not
been used and then recycled by a consumer (you and me). These
materials include: paper and envelope trimmings, and deinked
pre-consumer material. Pulp fiber that is derived from books,
magazines, and newspapers is termed pre-consumer.
Processed Chlorine Free - Processed Chlorine Free" (PCF)
refers to recycled paper in which the recycled content is
bleached without chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Typically,
PCF papers are often bleached using Hydrogen Peroxide, Oxygen or
Ozone. When paper pulp is bleached, the bleaching agent chlorine
is combined with lignin to form toxic compounds known as dioxin
and furans. These compounds bioaccumulate and are known to cause
serious health problems in both animals and humans. Thus, papers
that are processed without chlorine are the environmentally
Elemental Chlorine Free - "Elemental Chlorine Free" (ECF)
applies to paper processed without elemental chlorine but with a
chlorine derivative known as chlorine dioxide. ECF papers meet
EPA regulations for bleaching and chlorine is "non-detectable"
by standard required government tests in the effluent of mills
that use an ECF bleaching process. Despite these non-detectable
levels, more sensitive tests show that small amounts of chlorine
are present - making the ECF process not the environmentally
preferable bleaching practice.
Totally Chlorine Free - "Totally Chlorine Free" (TCF)
applies to virgin fiber papers that are unbleached or processed
with a sequence that includes no chlorine or chlorine
Alternative Fibers-There are many types of alternative fibers
including: hemp, kenaf, cotton, and agricultural by-products
such as cereal straws and corn stalks, which have previously
been treated as a waste stream.