Recycled or Sustainably Grown: Making the Right Paper Choice

green-trees4Have you ever wondered if refills and writing paper made from recycled content are more environmentally-friendly than those made from virgin paper?

You’ve probably noticed that the acronyms “FSC” and “SFI” are creeping into everyday conversations, advertising, and TV shows. But what do they really mean? Why should you care? And what happened to “recycled”? How can you choose eco-friendly paper?

Paper is one of the most obvious choices for any recycling program. But the demand for recycled paper far exceeds the supply, not to mention the costs and CO2 emissions involved in transporting recycled fiber to paper mills. Harvesting virgin fiber from forests that are managed and replanted to protect wildlife, plants, soil, water, and air-quality is a positive choice as well. In today’s market, only about 35% of paper fiber is created from recycled materials; the rest must be supplied by wood fiber harvested from standing forests.

That’s where FSC and SFI labels play important roles. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), established in 1995, has certified more than 23 million acres in the United States. This means that every supplier in the chain of custody, from logging through paper production, has been verified as using only wood that was harvested in a legal and ecologically-responsible manner. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), begun in 1994, although slightly less well known than FSC, also assures that paper and wood products are harvested from known, responsible sources. To date, they have certified more than 54 million acres of forestland in the United States.

Why should you care? Our forests offer vital habitat, cool our environment, and reduce our carbon dioxide levels. We protect our environment and ourselves by making smart choices.

The next time you shop for paper for your home, office, or even your planner, look for paper that’s labeled “post-consumer recycled, SFI or FSC. Day-Timer makes it easy to make the right choice – all of our refills contain either recycled content or paper certified under the SFI program.