This tip is part of our weekly series of green printing tips, where we bring you information on green printing in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Green Printing Tip No. 5: How can I avoid being green washed in being a green buyer of printing ?

This is easier said than done. Buying printing takes a lot of education on the terminology. I suggest that you know the basic terminology. I have three examples of potential Green Washing.

Example 1 - Recycled paper is paper that has a minimum of 30% post-consumer content. 100% recycled paper is based on the post-consumer content of paper. So, when a printer says they are using 100% recycled paper, I ask how much post-consumer is in the paper.This is a potential green washing. To make a big deal about 100% recycled paper when in fact the paper is maybe 30% recycled.

Example 2 - Chlorine Free paper that is bleached with hydrogen peroxide or oxygen is considered Process Chlorine Free (PCF). Paper that was bleached with Chlorine Dioxide is considered Elementally Chlorine Free (ECF). Processed Chlorine Free is chlorine free. Elemental Chlorine Free is really not chlorine free and can cause Dioxins. if a printer says the paper is chlorine free, you need to ask is it Processed Chlorine Free. This is a potential for green washing - making an ECF bleached paper sound like it is chlorine free.

Example 3 - FSC and Soy inks for printing sounds good, but ask how much post-consumer waste does the paper have, and what is the name of the paper. A 14 PT coated paper that is advertised a lot on many printer websites, is probably not even a recycled paper, and certainly not chlorine free. You need to be 100% post-consumer to be processed chlorine free. If the 14 PT is even recycled, it is ECF, or Elementally Chlorine Free, and does contain chlorine dioxide, and can cause dioxins.

The biggest Green Washing: Making a non recycled paper sound terrific, by attaching the FSC emblem and the Soy ink emblem to the advertising.I have always said that when stating FSC paper, include the other emblems. 100% post-consumer recycled, 100% processed chlorine free, Green E, etc. FSC is only one small element in determining the paper is environmental. The other emblems mean more.

This tip was originally published on Eco-Libris blog.

For more information please visit Greg Barber Company's website -

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