Which is better for the environment?

Submitted by: E.W. Answered by: Phil Riebel 08/03/2013


Which would be considered better for the environment, a 30 PCW content paper or a paper made from eucalyptus fiber?


It's impossible to make a judgment on the environmental footprint of paper just based on the type of fiber used.  The overall life-cycle of paper products includes many stages and environmental impacts, and there are a lot of other elements to consider.  For example:

- sustainable forest management practices and forest certification
- the environmental performance of pulp and paper mills in terms of emissions to air and water, and solid waste generated
- the carbon footprint
- the water footprint

...to name a few.

Either of the papers you mention could have a lower footprint than the other.  For example, the sheet with PCW could have a higher footprint than the sheet with Eucalyptus fiber based on other impacts in the life-cycle.

It is best to gather more information form the paper supplier and ask them to provide environmental data such as that required by the Environmental Paper Assessment Tool, the Paper Profile or the WWF Paper Scorecard.

Please check our Tools and Resources section on the website to access all these or contact me directly.

Here is a link to a paper that may be useful:  http://www.twosides.info:8080/content/rsPDF_180.pdf

I wish it could be simpler!

Phil Riebel

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