FSC Certified and Recycled Paper - Which is Better to Use?
Millions of trees are cut every year to make paper. Deforestation poses a threat to the environment in several ways. Rise in temperature, increase in levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and soil erosion are some of the more evident effects.
Frequent flooding due to the lack of trees to absorb excess rain water is also a real possibility. We cannot stop using paper despite the usage of electronic tools and devices having become popular but we can surely work towards minimizing the damage. You can contribute by using recycled paper. In addition, you also have the option of using FSC certified paper when not using the recycled one.
What is FSC certified paper
FSC refers to the Forest Stewardship Council. An FSC certification for forests being used to procure trees for paper making establishes the credentials of the organization managing the forest as a responsible organization that is not just cutting the trees for wood but is also replenishing the resources by taking up afforestation drives. Preservation of biological diversity, the natural ecosystem including water and soil also comes under this. The organizations must also give priority to the long term welfare of workers, indigenous people and the surrounding communities around the forested area. When all the norms are being met and the management plan of the company for afforestation meets FSC guidelines, the forest gets an FSC certification and the paper made from wood procured from these forests is termed FSC certified paper.
A comparison between recycled paper and FSC certified paper.
The following simple initiatives can go a long way in the direction:
FSC certified paper is akin to the normal paper and uses the same process in production, the only difference being that the logging of wood does not cause long term damage to forests as deforestation is accompanied by afforestation. This does not lead to bring about immediate replenishment of resources as plants take time to grow into trees but an effort is indeed made to preserve the natural ecosystem. Recycled paper is made from discarded paper having been used by the consumers once. It may also comprise of the paper discarded during the manufacturing process.
The machines used in logging of wood cause pollution even when it comes to the FSC certified forests. No such process is undertaken in the production of recycled paper.
Use of chemicals
Chemicals are used in the making of an FSC certified paper as well as the recycled paper. In case of a recycled paper, the paper needs to be treated for removal of ink and chemicals are also needed for the processes taken up for fiber breakdown.
The question here is not of opting for one among the two options at your disposal, the recycled paper or the FSC certified one but a combination of the two serves you better. Use recycled paper when you can. When the use of recycled paper is not an option, go for the FSC certified paper. This gives you the assurance that even when trees are being cut for making paper; aforestation too is being taken up with a sense of responsibility towards preserving our natural ecosystem.