Paper makes up the largest part of the waste stream, especially in an educational setting. The good news is that it's all one of the easiest things to reduce in use and recycle. Paper has one of the most available recycling markets. An important thing to remember is that in order to support the market for getting paper recycled, there must be a demand for the recycled paper pulp. Government accounts for approximately 25% of all purchasing nationwide, much of which is paper. By encouraging your university and state/local government, to purchase recycled content papers, you are creating a market for the paper you are collecting for recycling.
The Secret Life of Paper
At the University of Oregon, the Printing Dept. worked hard to create a campus-wide policy on use of recycled paper (UO RECYCLED PAPER POLICY). This was secondary to making recycled chlorine-free and tree-free papers available to the campus community. At the UO, 95% of the available papers are in this category and is supported by the campus recycled paper policy. Additionally, recycled papers and double-sided copying is the default for all campus printing orders. UO Printing makes conservation the rule and not the exception. Additionally, in pricing the papers, Printing has created a level playing field so the prices for recycled papers are cost competitive to virgin papers. This is a proactive step that the Printing Dept. has taken to ensure the success and support of the campus policy.
There are many wonderful recycled content papers available on the market. Additionally, universities have opportunities to engage in cooperative purchasing opportunities to further reduce cost and set standards for performance.
When you are choosing papers, please choose 100% post consumer recycled, chlorine free papers. If you are choosing tree-free papers, choose a paper that has a recycled content in order to continue to support the demand for recycled materials. Choose papers that use soy ink and reduced color. There are some beautiful light colored paper with recycled content. Please use graphics to get your message across as heavily dyed, neon and goldenrod papers are made with heavy metals and can only be recycled as low grade, which is the poorest grade of recycled paper and hard to market. Lighter colored papers get recycled as colored paper/office pack and are much better on the recycling system.
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