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Purchasing Paper Made from Renewable Resources

written by: Meg C.•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 6/28/2011

The average American uses 748 pounds of paper each year. It is very imporant to purchase paper made from renewable resources. If we don't start purchasing paper made from renewable resources, we are wasting some of our planets valuable materials.

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    77 percent of paper is recycled in the Netherlands,

    67 percent of paper is recycled in Germany, 52 percent of paper is recycled in Japan, and only 45 percent of paper is recycled in the U.S. Even though the US is one of the most industrialized country, we are still wasting a lot of Earth's resources.

    Purchasing paper made from renewable resources is one way to combat some of the waste that American's produce.

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    Why Buy Recycled Paper?

    Why should you purchase recycled paper? One reason is that recycled paper uses less energy during its production. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, recycling paper uses 60% less energy than manufacturing virgin timber paper. In addition, buying recycled paper cuts down on the paper waste sitting in our landfills.

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    Certified Sustainable Paper

    Certain paper manufacturers seek out certifications that indicate that their products are made from 100% renewable resources. There are two main certifications available for eco-conscious paper companies: FSC and PEFC.

    According to the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC certification comes from an assessment of "forest management using the FSC principles, criteria, and standards, each certifier uses their own evaluative process. This allows FSC to remain outside of the assessment process, and supports the integrity of the standard, and of the FSC system. Certifiers evaluate both forest management activities (forest certification) and tracking of forest products (chain-of-custody certification)."

    Basically put, paper from an FSC certified mill is made through responsible manufacturing practices that include forests that are self-sustaining.

    The PEFC is a similar certification from a different body located in Switzerland. Paper that bears either certification is assured to come from responsible manufacturing practices.

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    Who Sells Eco-Friendly Paper and Who Does Not

    Certain retailers sell paper that is made more responsibly than other companies do. Of the most environmentally conscious retailers is Target, FedEx Office, Unisource, and Office Depot. Other companies such as Amazon and Xpedex continue to sell paper manufactured by destructive companies.

    Although Wal-Mart has made strides to follow the consumer trend to become more eco-friendly, they don't always sell paper that is manufactured responsibly. Wal-Mart buys their paper from International Paper, a multi-national company that is know for destroying forests and replacing them with plantations.