Why Knowing Where Your Paper Comes From Matters – and How to Make Sure Your Paper is Sustainable and Ethical

Why Knowing Where Your Paper Comes From Matters – and How to Make Sure Your Paper is Sustainable and Ethical

Paper is a ubiquitous material that is used in a wide variety of applications, from writing and printing to packaging and construction. In North America, paper is typically made from wood pulp, which is derived from trees. The process of making paper from wood pulp involves several steps, including pulping, bleaching, and drying.

To make paper from wood pulp, the first step is to separate the wood fibers from one another. This is typically done using a mechanical or chemical process known as pulping. In mechanical pulping, the wood is ground into small pieces using a grinding machine. In chemical pulping, the wood is treated with chemicals to dissolve the lignin, which binds the fibers together.

Once the wood fibers have been separated, they are mixed with water to create a slurry. This slurry is then filtered to remove any remaining impurities, such as bark or sap. The resulting pulp is then bleached to remove any remaining color, using chemicals such as chlorine or oxygen.

After the pulp has been bleached, it is mixed with other materials, such as fillers or dyes, to give the paper its desired properties and appearance. The pulp is then spread out on a large, flat surface and pressed to remove excess water. The resulting sheet of paper is then dried using heat and air pressure.

In North America, many paper manufacturers are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is an independent organization that promotes responsible forestry practices. FSC-certified paper is made from wood that has been sustainably harvested and processed, and is considered to be environmentally friendly.

In addition to being certified by the FSC, many paper manufacturers in North America also produce acid-free paper. Acid-free paper is made using alkaline-based chemicals, which neutralize the acids that naturally occur in wood pulp. This helps to prevent the paper from yellowing or deteriorating over time, making it more durable and longer-lasting.

It's important to note that paper is a renewable resource. Trees can be replanted and regrown, which makes it possible to continue producing paper without depleting the Earth's natural resources. Additionally, recycling paper helps to conserve resources and reduce waste, as recycled paper requires less energy and water to produce than virgin paper.

Hemlock & Oak planners use paper that is FSC-certified and is acid-free. We incorporate recycled and post-consumer waste wherever we can (for example, most of our notepads use a 100% PCW paper). 

The Surprising Differences Between Post-Consumer Waste and Recycled Paper – and Why It Matters

Recycled paper and post-consumer waste paper are similar in that they are both made from paper that has been previously used. However, there are some important differences between the two.

Recycled paper is made from paper that has been collected from various sources, such as office buildings, schools, and households. This paper is then processed and converted into new paper products, such as notebook paper, printing paper, or cardboard. The process of recycling paper involves several steps, including sorting, cleaning, and pulping.

Post-consumer waste paper, on the other hand, is made from paper that has been used by consumers and then discarded. This includes paper products that have been used and thrown away, such as newspaper, magazines, or cardboard boxes. Post-consumer waste paper is typically collected from households, schools, or businesses and then processed and converted into new paper products.

One of the main differences between recycled paper and post-consumer waste paper is the level of purity. Recycled paper is typically made from paper that has been collected from a variety of sources, which can result in a lower quality product. In contrast, post-consumer waste paper is made from paper that has been used by consumers, which tends to be of a higher quality.

Another difference between the two is the environmental impact. Recycling paper helps to conserve resources and reduce waste, as it requires less energy and water to produce than virgin paper. However, post-consumer waste paper has an even greater environmental benefit, as it diverts waste from landfills and reduces the demand for virgin paper.

In conclusion, while both recycled paper and post-consumer waste paper are made from previously used paper, there are some important differences between the two. Recycled paper is made from a variety of sources and may have a lower quality, while post-consumer waste paper is made from paper that has been used by consumers and has a higher quality. Additionally, post-consumer waste paper has a greater environmental benefit than recycled paper.

Happy planning!


2023 Weekly (A5)2023 Weekly PlannerUndated Weekly PlannerDotted NotebookGraph Notebook

2023 collection

Available for a limited time

Tackle next year's challenges, sustainably. Shop our small-batch planners that are made in Canada!

Shop Weekly Shop Minimalist