Recycled paper is a broad term with multiple variations. Plainly stated, recycled paper is a grade of paper that contains recycled (post-consumer and/or pre-consumer) fiber. There are recycled paper grades that range from 10% post-consumer to 100% post-consumer recycled. The U.S. EPA has developed guidelines for federally funded purchases that require a minimum of 30% post-consumer content for uncoated printing and writing paper. These standards are generally accepted as de facto (but voluntary) national standards.
Virgin Fiber Paper
Virgin fiber paper is manufactured without the use of any recycled or alternative fibers. Trees are the typical source of the virgin fiber used in the papermaking process. However, virgin fibers can be sourced from agricultural by-products and alternative fibers.
Executive Order 13101 defines "post-consumer material" as a material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been discarded for disposal or recovery having completed its life as a consumer item. This is a preferred fiber because it is used in the production of new products instead of being incinerated or sent to a landfill. Recovered office paper waste makes up the majority of post-consumer fiber content that is used to make recycled copy and printing papers.
Pre-consumer fiber materials have not been used and then recycled by a consumer (you and me). These materials include: paper and envelope trimmings, and de-inked pre-consumer material. Pulp fiber that is derived from the production of books, magazines, and newspapers is termed pre-consumer.
Processed Chlorine Free
"Processed Chlorine Free" (PCF) refers to recycled paper in which the recycled content is bleached without chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Typically, PCF papers are often bleached using Hydrogen Peroxide, Oxygen or Ozone. When paper pulp is bleached, the bleaching agent chlorine is combined with lignin to form toxic compounds known as dioxin and furans. These compounds bioaccumulate and are known to cause serious health problems in both animals and humans. Thus, papers that are processed without chlorine are the environmentally preferred choice.
Elemental Chlorine Free
"Elemental Chlorine Free" (ECF) applies to paper processed without elemental chlorine but with a chlorine derivative known as chlorine dioxide. ECF papers meet EPA regulations for bleaching, and chlorine is "non-detectable" by standard required government tests in the effluent of mills that use an ECF bleaching process. Despite these non-detectable levels, more sensitive tests show that small amounts of chlorine are present - making the ECF process not the environmentally preferable bleaching practice.
Totally Chlorine Free
"Totally Chlorine Free" (TCF) applies to virgin fiber papers that are unbleached or processed with a sequence that includes no chlorine or chlorine derivatives.
There are many types of alternative fibers including: hemp, kenaf, cotton, and agricultural by-products such as cereal straws and corn stalks, which have previously been treated as a waste stream.
ENDANGERED, ANCIENT, OLD GROWTH, NATIVE, FRONTIER, AND HCVF FORESTS
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but have different meanings to different people and organizations. They all generally refer to forest areas that are relatively undisturbed by human management, ranging in size from a few acres to thousands of square miles. These areas may be near, surrounded by, or adjacent to forest areas that have been heavily disturbed or altered by human management.
Endangered Forests are the most valuable forests on the globe, forests that would be irreparably harmed by industrial resource extraction. In practical terms this means these forests are "NO GO" and "NO BUY" forests. These forests comprise a large proportion of the world's remaining old-growth, primary, and ancient forests in tropical, temperate, and boreal zones.
These forests should be protected from industrial-scale resource extraction so that they may continue to provide the many goods and services they supply in their natural state, and to maintain biological diversity in forest ecosystems.
The definitions of Endangered Forests are meant as a tool and guidance for consumers of wood and paper products. The protection of Endangered Forests complements certification of logging operations under the Forest Stewardship Council.
There are four categories of endangered forests:
· Intact forest landscape mosaics,
· Naturally rare forest types,
· Forest types that have been made rare due to human activity, and
· Other forests that are ecologically critical for the protection of biological diversity.
Please see our Endangered Forest Overview fact sheet and the Endangered Forest Definitions working paper for further details.
ANCIENT or OLD GROWTH FORESTS
Ancient or Old-Growth Forests include forest areas that are relatively undisturbed by human activity. Ancient forests vary significantly in age and structure from forest type to forest type and one biogeoclimatic zone to another. Boreal forests and temperate or tropical rainforests may all be classified as ancient or old growth forests. Ancient forests are characterized by the following features:
· They have not undergone any significant industrial activity,
· They are naturally regenerated and dominated by a range of native tree species,
· Tree size, age, and spacing vary widely,
· Accumulations of dead standing trees (snags) and fallen trees are much more frequent than in younger forests,
· Ancient forests contain trees that are large for the species and site combination,
· The canopy of an ancient forest has many openings and the forest floor is lush with ferns, berry bushes, mosses, etc.,
· Ancient/Old Growth forests have multiple canopy layers.
Native forests are largely naturally regenerated forests of any age consisting of a mix of tree species typical and natural for the region and forest type.
Frontier forest is a term coined by the World Resources Institute and refers to “the world's remaining large intact natural forest ecosystems.” These are large forest tracts that are relatively undisturbed and big enough to maintain all of their biodiversity, including viable populations of the wide-ranging species associated with each forest type.
(Con'd on Glossary Page 2)
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