A common point of confusion involves the difference between forestry-certified and recycled paper.
First, recycled paper is not necessarily certified paper and vice versa. Recycled paper contains a percentage (up to 100%) of pre-consumer and/or post-consumer recycled fibres. Conversely, certified papers can be made from a combination of:
  • Virgin fibre certified according to the principles of sustainable development
  • Recycled fibre
  • Virgin fibre whose provenance is controlled
Multi-stream recycling is the norm in North America. This means that all recycled materials (glass, plastic, paper, etc.) are mixed at the beginning and then sorted afterward. This increases the risk of contamination of the materials and affects the ultimate quality of what can be used to produce recycled paper. This, in turn, has affected the price of recycled fibre, which has risen considerably over the past few years.
Another consideration is that the use of recycled fibre in the paper affects its brightness: the higher the percentage of recycled fibre, the greyer the paper looks. Very little paper is easily available with a high percentage of recycled fibre.
Certified paper consists of an independent, third-party assessment of sustainable forest management against preset standards. These programs address issues such as biodiversity, protecting species that are at risk and protecting water quality. The organizations perform independent audits and make their summary results publicly available. Multiple stakeholders generally participate in setting standards and programs, incorporating complaint and appeals processes.
Although there are more than 50 certification programs worldwide, the most common in North America are:
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)(R)
  • Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)TM
  • Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI)(R)
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)(R)
Printers play a key role in the chain of custody aspect of certification programs. Best practices demand that each link in the chain (forest, paper mill and printing facility) must be validated with a Chain of Custody (CoC) certificate in order to apply the appropriate forestry certification logo on the printed product. A certified logo on a printed product means that the paper has been manufactured using pulp from forests that have been managed in a sustainable manner, that the sources are verifiable and that the paper has been properly handled through the supply chain.
All of TC Transcontinental Printing's facilities are triple-certified. This means that when a customer requests certified paper, the applicable logo can be printed, from either Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)(R), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)(R) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certifications (PEFC)TM. Each certification is a reflection of the forest's ecological, social and economic diversity.
To learn more about recycled paper and certified paper, contact us.