paper & ink: greener options, part 1

paper & ink: greener options, part 1

** i was honored very recently with an invitation to be a guest blogger for the ever-amazing bridal blog BridePOP – a hip, ahead-of-the-curve resource for all things wedding.. for brides (and outside of folks like me) written by brides.  my first post went live this morning, and i have to admit, it felt pretty neat seeing it up. :) here it is in its entirety though, for all of you that may have missed it! enjoy, and hope you learned something new! **

These days, as the “trend” of going green moves farther and farther from being the ultra-hip cause of the month, to an absolute necessity, it’s no wonder that more couples are searching for ways to make their wedding day as eco-friendly as possible. One of the easiest parts to tackle is your invitations, along with the rest of your printed items — from save-the-dates and ceremony programs, to menus and thank you cards.

Yet with all of the options out there, how do you know what is what? And how do you know it’s legitimately making a difference? Especially from a DIY standpoint, how do you choose the most responsible option when you’re standing in front of a vast shelf of paper and envelopes in 1000 shades, patterns and colors? Well, here’s part one of our quick guide to decode all those mystifying acronyms and options, when it comes to greener paper and ink. Two of the most common options out there…

FSClogoFSC Certified
Probably the most recognizable and fastest growing green certification in the paper and timber industries is doled out by the Forest Stewardship Council (hence, FSC) – an independent nonprofit started in 1993, focusing on sustainable and socially responsible forest management. What does that mean, and how does that make the world a better place? Here’s a quick, summary from treehugger.com (via Heart of Green)

  • Never harvests more than what grows back
  • Protects biodiversity and endangered species
  • Saves rare ancient trees
  • Guards local streams
  • Supports the local people
  • Uses narrow skidding trails so as not to disrupt the rest of the forest
  • Prohibits replacement by tree plantations
  • Bans toxic chemicals
  • Bans genetically modified trees (no GMO)

Rather than allowing companies to clear-cut old growth forests, or using harmful chemicals, they ensure that harvesting is done in a responsible manner, taking the overall impact to the environment into consideration. And while there are other forest certification organizations out there (Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the international non-profit PEFC, etc.), for the most part the FSC stands head and shoulders above the rest. SO, seeing that lovely logo is definitely a step in the right direction!

recycleRecycled

This one is hard to misinterpret, as I’m sure most everyone is familiar with the process of reducing and reusing their waste by RECYCLING. Paper is no different than your soda cans and plastic bottles – once it’s sent through the recycling stream (washed, deinked and ground into pulp where it is then bleached.. preferably chlorine free, and formed into new sheets or rolls), it is repurposed for another use. BUT, there is another little acronym to be aware of: PCW, or Post Consumer Waste – paper that has already lived a useful life in the hands of consumers and is now rising from the ashes to live again. In order to qualify as a “recycled” product, the minimum post-consumer waste content is 30%. 30% isn’t BAD per se, but it’s definitely not the BEST you can do. It’s also important to note that a product can be 100% recycled without 100% PCW, as PRE-consumer waste (paper never printed on that was immediately recycled) or just RECYCLED content (having never reached the consumer) also count towards the total. All in all though, go green by choosing that recycled stock for your DIY stationery or when you’re working with your invitation designer.. then go the extra mile and raise some eyebrows by asking about the PCW content!

Next up… part 2: tree-free paper!  Cotton, banana fiber… elephant poo? Stay tuned!

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