Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

The Benefits Of Purchasing Recycled Paper

September 19, 2010

Green cleaning is a growing trend that favors using cleaning products with ingredients from renewable resources and non-toxic, biodegradable chemicals.

However, purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products isn''t the only thing to keep in mind when incorporating green aspects into your cleaning regimens.

The type of paper used with these cleaning products can have just as big of an impact on the Earth and should be considered a priority when wanting to reduce your business'' footprint.

Carbon footprints are generated when fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

There are two ways to generate greenhouse gases: Directly, by doing things like driving; and indirectly, when we purchase manufactured items such as paper.

Non-recycled paper ends up in landfills, which degrades and produces the potent greenhouse gas called methane, thus contributing to global warming.

By purchasing recycled paper, businesses can reduce the impact on forests, use less energy during the production process, eliminate the need for toxic chemicals and minimize water usage.

Paper can also be recycled up to seven times before its fiber is no longer usable.

Once a business decides to purchase recycled paper, the associated benefits help to shine a sustainable spotlight on your business and the buildings you clean and maintain.

The reasons why a business should purchase recycled paper are clear, but once it has been decided to go this route, it can be a challenge to know what to look for in the growing landscape of environmentally friendly products.

Check The Labels

The recycling loop isn''t complete until the materials collected at curbside and drop-off sites are remanufactured into new products and purchased by businesses and consumers.

Look for products that have high recycled content, including high post-consumer content.

Post-consumer fibers are recovered from paper that was previously used by consumers and would otherwise have been dumped into a landfill.

Some tips to keep in mind when selecting a company to purchase green paper products from include the following:

  • Look for keywords: Look for the word "post-consumer" when shopping. While watching for the post-consumer content logo helps, not every product made from recycled content is labeled with this symbol.

  • Go chlorine-free: Paper products are bleached to make them whiter and brighter, but chlorine used in many bleaching processes contributes to the formation of harmful chemicals that wind up in our air and water and are highly toxic to people and fish. Using less chlorine decreases carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the amount of electricity generated. Look for products labeled totally chlorine-free (TCF) or processed chlorine-free (PCF). In some cases, elemental chlorine-free (ECF) may be acceptable.

  • Do your research: Identify paper companies that recycle all types of paper including newspaper, office paper, cardboard, packaging, magazines, junk mail, paper towels, facial tissues and even some construction materials. These materials can be made into a wide variety of paper products that are less harmful and just as effective when cleaning your business or facility.

It is important to do business with paper companies that produce their products in regional facilities, which helps eliminate fuel usage and cuts down on street traffic.

Rigorous scientific research supports the benefits of recycled paper, and government agencies, environmental groups and many other large purchasers have adopted policies mandating its use.

As a business owner, you can be assured that you are doing the right thing for the environment by buying recycled paper.


Mike Kapalko, SCA Tissue North America''s sustainability marketing manager, works to promote health and environmental responsibility with customers by taking SCA''s holistic approach to manufacturing its Tork systems and cost saving solutions. Mike has more than 12 years'' experience working in the away-from-home sanitary paper market and started his career in the commercial foodservice industry where hygiene and cross-contamination are constant areas of focus.