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ALTERNATIVE VOGUE PAPER

Recycled
Post-consumer
Chlorine-free
Tree-free

Perhaps you've noticed greeting cards and stationery packets proudlyclaiming one or more of the descriptions above. Sounds nice, but are youconfused? Most consumers are when trying to decipher it all because manyclaims are misleading. So much that recycling paper became an issue whichevolved into an Executive Order signed by President Clinton on September 14,1998. It calls for all federal agencies to buy only recycled papercontaining at least thirty percent post-consumer waste. Within is asimplified explanation and purchasing suggestions.

RECYCLED

It is exciting to think that recycling can really benefit our environment.The government standard for recycled paper use has increased the demand forpost-consumer wastepaper from recycling centers. We can keep this positivetrend going by demanding high content in our recycled paper. Recycled paperuses fifty-five percent less water and helps preserve our forests. Recyclingpaper cost the environment less than producing new paper from virginmaterial. Recycled paper means less trash, lower taxes and other disposal costs.

POST-CONSUMER

Scrap paper from your office or home is called "post-consumer" waste (PCW).Post-consumer wastepaper is choking our landfills. It is going toincinerators. There is no shortage of wastepaper and we need to concentrateon using it and taking our waste paper to the recycling center. PCW makes upa very small percentage of the paper fiber used in the U.S. Most assume thatrecycled paper is made from these wastes. This isn't necessarily so. Manyfolks feel deceived when they learn that most paper products labeledrecycled contain little post-consumer material. Forty percent of our garbageis paper. Post-consumer waste, what we take to the recycling center, doesn'tget used by magic. If you are not using post-consumer recycled paper, youare not recycling.

CHLORINE-FREE

One of our nation's worst chlorine transportation accidents occurred in1996. The chlorine was made by a giant paper company. This accident provedthat the handling and transport of a harsh chemical like chlorine was aconstant danger to all of us. Throughout the industry white paper has beenachieved by the use of chlorine. This hazardous chemical also meant toxicpollution, mutation, cancer, and death. The U.S. paper industry's relianceon chlorine-intensive bleaching placed them as the worst water polluters inthe world. Pulp mills using chlorine for bleaching produced hundreds ofchlorinated organic compounds, including dioxins, which are considered themost potent chemical toxins known. Studies have shown that dioxins arehighly carcinogenic, lead to reduced reproductiveness, cause genetic damage,are persistent and accumulate in the environment, becoming concentrated asmoved up the food chain.

TREE-FREE

The use of intentional alternative fibers like hemp and kenaf to make paperis a good idea. These plants, however, are not the only answer to finding atrue alternative to the destructive and polluting virgin paper industry.What often happens is not the substitution of alternative papers for papermade from trees, but the substitution of alternative fiber paper forrecycled paper. So why make paper out of tree-free plants? There are severalreasons. The fact that they are made from a mixture of agricultural fibersand post-consumer paper makes them environmentally friendly. By recyclingpaper and using the fibrous by-products of agriculture, industries can avoidcutting down trees for the making of our paper products. In addition, thesefibers add character and texture to paper, making the product attractive andfashionable. Each tree-free plant has it's own story.

Hemp

Using hemp as a raw material for paper is more environmentally benign thanusing trees because the harvesting of the fiber is less destructive on theenvironment and because the fiber has a lower lignin content than wood,allowing better opportunities for non-chlorine bleaching or the productionof unbleached pulp. Recycled cotton rag is leftover scraps from the textileindustry. Cotton rag is traditionally used in the manufacture of the finestwriting paper, which blends beautifully with hemp paper production.

Kenaf

Kenaf is a four thousand year-old new crop with roots in ancient Africa. Amember of the hibiscus family, (Hibiscus cannabinus L), it is related tocotton and okra. It grows well in many parts of the U.S. It offers a way to make paper without cutting trees and grows quickly, rising to heights oftwelve to fourteen feet in as little as four to five months. U.S. Departmentof Agriculture studies show that kenaf yields six to ten tons of dry fiberper acre per year and is generally three to five times greater than theyield for Southern pine trees, which can take from seven to forty years toreach harvest able size.

Banana Stalks, Coffee Beans & Tobacco

Costa Rica Natural™ and Earth College committed themselves to the ideal ofenvironmental and sustainable development. For example, banana stalk wascasually disposed of into landfills and rivers where it would oxidize andharm ecology. Two hundred thirty thousand tons of banana stalks weredisposed of yearly in Costa Rica alone. Creating Banana Paper, the partnership between the agricultural and the paper industries made senseeconomically and ecologically. Then came Coffee Paper™, made with actualbrewed coffee and coffee skins. The rich marbleized coffee color createdthe coffee stains over the white recycled paper. Coffee skins were added toattain a fibrous texture, responsive to touch. The coffee utilized from ElSalvador became the left-over by-product of the coffee plantations. Thentobacco plantations of Central America were studied. With a one hundredpercent mixture of post-consumer paper and the recycling of the tobacco by-products, two unrelated industries were united to develop one paper product. Hence, Cigar Paper was created with a rich texture and hue. Usingone ton of tobacco fibre saved an estimated seventeen trees. The cigar fibre processing began in Honduras without the use of harmful chemicals.

Inventive Creations

Increasingly find fashionable cards in gift stores that are hand-made from organic, natural and recycled fibers embedded with organic seeds. In such form, the entire card with seeds may be planted indoors in a pot or directly in the garden. The paper will recycle becoming part of the soil as the seedsgrow into beautiful plants. The cards are usually blank inside for anyoccasion with imbedded seeds such as purple mustard greens, mixed cosmos,mesclun and marigolds. Planting directions and envelopes are usually included.

Some businesses make books from their own hand-made paper utilizing plantslike hemp, kenaf, abaca, cotton, linen, and other natural fibers. Inaddition to fine books, find decorative papers with ingredients such asbeet, carrot, grape, junk mail, moss, seaweed, and natural silk. And lookfor high-quality, tree-free gift wrapping paper made from vegetable fibers.

At a jean manufacturing plant, an operations manager is experimenting with aprogram to recycle cotton cutting scraps into card stock paper. A variety ofblue paper products are made from scrap denim. Such inventions areincreasing in the U.S. and abroad.

Become vogue with fashionable paper products for your home and office.Recycle paper, look for ingredients or processing methods before you purchase, and set an impressive image while saving forests to improve ourplanet.

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