Saturday, May 6, 2017
What is FSC-certified paper?
Over the many years I have been using and making paper, I continually learn new aspects of about it, and especially about manufactured paper. I print my botanical designs onto creamy smooth Cougar Natural paper but only recently learned that I was using a paper that was FSC-Certified. What does that mean? I actually didn't know. I was looking for a recycled paper for my cards, which typically costs a lot more, when my printer informed me I was already using a FSC-certifed paper containing 10% recycled materials.But some research taught me that FSC — an abbreviation for Forest Stewardship Council — certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
The Forest Stewardship Council sets standards for forest products, independently certifies that these standards have been met, and bestows labels upon the products that qualify. Certification means products like paper and wood that have been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner.
FSC-certified paper is different from recycled paper, as it's typically composed of virgin tree fibers rather than pre- or post-consumer recycled materials (although recycled paper is sometimes also FSC-certified). But when the wood pulp used to make this paper is sourced from a well-managed forest, it can be just as eco-friendly.
According to the Forest Stewardship Council, the U.S. consumes 100 million tons of paper annually, and recycled paper makes up just 35 percent of that amount. The remainder must come from timber forests. Encouraging paper manufacturers to seek out wood suppliers that work to protect habitat, prevent pollution, plant more trees than are harvested and avoid displacing native peoples and harming wildlife, can make a big difference.
As my business grows, I hope to move into more expensive paper that utilizes 100% of recycled materials. For now, it's a big step for me that my cards proudly display the FSC-certified label.