Article for Local Governments and Non-Profits to Publish in Their Newsletters and Local Newspapers. Target Audience: Residents

Download a copy of this memo in a Word document.

Buy Recycled Paper, and Save Trees, Energy

Looking for a simple and convenient way to help the environment? Buy recycled paper.

It's no accident that the symbol for recycling is a circle of arrows. Reusing and recycling materials are only part of the effort needed to reduce the strain on environmental resources. Consumers must also purchase goods created from recycled materials in order to make the circle complete.

You can start by buying toilet paper and paper towels made from recycled paper, not trees. Most stores carry at least one brand that proudly announces that their products include recycled content.

While at work or buying paper for your home printer, be sure to request paper that has at least 30 percent "post-consumer" recycled content - meaning that at least 30 percent of the paper is made from fibers that were salvaged from a previous paper product such as office and printing papers. It is important that you specifically look for and request recycled paper because most of the paper on the shelves is not recycled. For a complete list of stores that sell recycled paper source, contact your local recycling website or hotline.

"Consumers believe they no longer have to ask for recycled, but more than 90 percent of the printing and writing paper made in this country is still made from trees," said Susan Kinsella, Executive Director of Conservatree (www.conservatree.com), a Bay Area non-profit organization that educates paper buyers on environmental paper purchasing. "Every ton of recycled paper substituted for non-recycled paper saves 12 trees (newspaper) to 24 trees (office papers) and a significant amount of energy and water that otherwise would be required to make paper from trees. Recycled paper also reduces air pollutants, a byproduct of paper production."

Kinsella said that when recycled paper first became available on the market more than twenty years ago, concerns about cost and quality limited its appeal to consumers. Now recycled papers are high quality, meeting the same requirements as non-recycled papers. In addition, price differences have become so small that many recycled papers are priced about the same - or less - than paper without post-consumer recycled content. Best of all, they can be used successfully at home and at work in a wide variety of uses from finicky copiers to high-end graphics printing.

To learn more about using recycled paper, visit the RecycleWorks website at www.recycleworks.org or call the Recycling Hotline at 1-888-442-2666.