Buying The Best Paper

Why Buy Recycled Paper?

The best paper to buy from an environmental perspective is recycled paper. From a quality perspective, recycled paper has come on leaps and bounds in the last decade. As a result, many printer and copier manufactureres now promote the ability of their machines to use recycled paper stock.

The benefits of making paper from recycled content:

  • Producing paper from recovered fibre instead of virgin fibre consumes up to 60% less water and 50% less energy.¹
  • Reduces pressure on our natural resources.
  • Reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfill.

Every 160 reams of recycled office paper that are printed double-sided will save more than one tonne of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.²

What Is The Best Type Of Recycled Paper To Buy?

From an environmental perspective, not all recycled paper is created equal. Try and purchase recycled paper that has the maximum post-consumer recycled content.

Post-consumer recycled content

This is material that has been used as paper in workplace locations, placed in a recycling bin and taken back to be used in the manufacture of recycled paper.

Pre-consumer recycled content

When a mill makes paper, offcuts of paper are created within that process. These offcuts are then placed back into the paper-making process.

Not all recycled paper has 100% recycled content. If the paper has 25% recycled content then only buy the paper if the virgin component is certified with the FSC.

For information on choosing recycled content office paper and printing paper, see the ‘Guide to Purchasing Recycled Content Office Paper’ and ‘Know Your Printing Paper’ guides published by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) here.

For a hard copy of the guides, which includes paper samples, please contact the DECC on (02) 8837 6000.

1 ‘Know Your Paper: A guide to purchasing recycled content office paper‘ (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, January 2009)
2 According to ‘Australian Paper Industry Statistics’ (A3P, 2005 – 2006), 1 tonne of paper (1000kg) =  1.35 tonnes of greenhouse gas production. Therefore 741kg = 1 tonne of gas.
One standard ream of A4 paper (500 sheets) at 80gsm gives a total area of 31.185m² x 80 gram weight = 2.4948kg.

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