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Ancient Forest Friendly paper

Background - 13 February, 2006
Ancient Forest Friendly papers are free of ancient forest fibre and contain 100 percent recycled fibre or 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) virgin fibre or papers with high recycled content and the remainder of the fibre content being FSC®.

Destructive logging continues to devestate critical habitat for species like these threatened Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus)

The only way to guarantee that the paper you buy comes from an environmentally friendly source is to purchase either recycled paper made from post consumer waste, FSC® certified paper or paper which is a combination of the two. In the future, tree free alternatives such as agricultural waste, hemp and kenaf are also likely to become an option.

Recycled Paper

There is no legal definition for the term 'recycled paper'. Some recycled papers contain pre-consumer waste which is paper recovered after the papermaking process, but before being used by a consumer (such as printer's trim - paper that is left over once paper has been cut to meet ordered specifications). Others contain post-consumer waste, which has been used in the market place and returned for recycling.

Examples of 'post-consumer' include: old newspapers that individuals have taken to a recycling centre, books and magazines that an end-consumer has purchased, junk mail that someone has received and then recycled, or office waste and cardboard boxes that have been collected from a business.

Without this post-consumer specification, a factory could over-produce an item, have it sit on a shelf unused, and then return the item back into the recycling chain without it ever having been used. Unlike the post-consumer product, this product could have many potential future uses other than as a waste product.

So the aim is to go for the highest possible "post-consumer" recycled content. When you use post-consumer recycled paper, you will actually be helping to save trees.

Recyled paper savings

Recycling one tonne (1,000 kg) of newspaper:

  • saves 17 trees
  • saves enough energy to power an average home for 6 months
  • eliminates 3 cubic metres of landfill
  • saves 31,780 litres of water
  • creates 75 percent less air pollution
  • takes 43 percent less energy than producing a tonne of paper from virgin pulp
  • creates 35 percent less water pollution

(These are based on Canadian figures sourced from Environment Canada 1992)

The safest way to ensure your purchasing decision most benefits the environment is to buy recycled paper with a high post consumer waste content.

Check out the "ecological calculator" and calculate the trees you could save if the books, newspapers and magazines you used were on 100 percent post-consumer waste paper.

For more information on the environmental benefits of using recycled paper see the Environmental Defense fund fact sheet.

FSC® certified paper

If you are using virgin (non-recycled paper), make sure you buy FSC® certified paper, since the FSC® is the only certification scheme which ensures that forests are managed in an environmentally and socially responsible way. For more information on the FSC® see

How do I tell if my book is printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper?

If a book is printed on recycled and/or FSC® certified paper it will normally state it on the first few pages of the book (where the publisher is identified). This may be accompanied by a "recycled" logo or an "FSC®" logo.

Unfortunately, at the moment, most books make claims such as, 'papers used are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests'. This is despite the fact that most publishers can not back up these claims with credible evidence.

"Be it for window frames, desk tops or books for young readers - there's no way a giant ancient forest tree has to fall victim to a chainsaw for them - and it wouldn't, were it not for the unholy alliance between stupidity and greed for profit on the part of those responsible and for unawareness on the part of most "consumers". This makes me all the more pleased that I can write a tiny little bit to oppose this unawareness in my Greenteam books - and that, thanks to Greenpeace, these books are guaranteed to be made in a way that is 'ancient-forest friendly'".

-Nicolas Roth