Myths & Lies
It makes sense that recycled paper would be cheaper than virgin forest or plantation paper. Think of the machinery, the labour, the transport. Or think of a truck circling around Melbourne to pick up clean office paper and taking it back to the mill. Clean office paper- it may need a bit of sorting, but Australia Paper is just that - Melbourne office paper.
The price of paper is based on the quantity they make - and Australians don't use recycled paper as they do in Europe. 10 years ago we were shipping 65% of our collected recycled paper overseas for other countries to use. And we didn't use the other 45% to make paper. The international market dropped and I cannot find out what we are doing with our (2001 figures) 1.23M tonnes of paper we use. That's (2001 figures) 5,000,000 cubic metres of landfill.
Recycled paper uses more energy than virgin paper.
500 sheets (ONE REAM) of recycled paper saves 80 litres of water, 5.4 kilos of wood and 15.2Kw of electricity ... not to mention the energy of chopping down trees and transporting them.
5.4 kilos of wood = 1 ream of paper!
Shocking that it takes that much wood to make a ream of paper, but liken it to sugar cane fibre and the final sugar product. The pro-plantation people say that just scrap wood is used to make paper. SHOW ME what forestry workers consider scrap wood.
10 years ago I bought a pallet of Indonesian "environmental" paper with internatonal accreditations. A group of researchers filmed the mill taking freshly fallen rainforest trees through the backdoor. Evidently, the mill was putting so much acid into the river that it was killing all the fish. And the locals were hungry and cut down the virgin forest so they could get enough money to eat. The spiral goes downhill.
Your “finest quality” paper is “wood-free”, which means that all the bits of wood fibre has been removed and the paper is made from the pulp only. Much like icing sugar, super fine and super sweet.
Recycled paper uses more chemicals to make it white.
Recycled paper has to have the “print” removed, and there is lots of different procedures to do it. Some use the sun, some use a solution of ECF (elemental chlorine free - which means all the carcinogenic compounds have been removed.)
The Lenzig mill in Austria wins awards for their enviromental ethics. They use the grid to get the mill running in the morning, then they heat the schools with their excess electricity. The purify their water before returning it to the creek behind the mill. They own forests in Guatemala so the paper arrives in Brisbane carbon neutral. I've met tourists from Lenzig - they love their mill.
Nearly all paper mills use chemicals to clean it. It is hard to find a TCF paper. Used to carry some. Can't find it now. Bright white paper is prized.
Recycled paper is poorer quality.
That may have been true 25 years ago. Today you get what you pay for. Cheap recycled paper can be poor quality as is cheap virgin paper. Dusty, low opacity, rough. But quality recycled paper is so smooth, so polished, you might think it is gloss paper. The subtle variations of colour are rich. Every effort is made to make recycled paper white-white. I prefer the flecky paper, but it is in such low demand, it is very expensive.
Paper prices are directly linked to the quantities used. The more we all use recycled paper, the less it will cost all of us.