Paper that doesn't cost the Earth

Print Greener

At the Glasgow School of Art we use around 3.400 reams (or 1.7Mn sheets) of paper a year. Historically we’ve used virgin fibre made directly from cut-down trees. Using virgin fibre means we consume the equivalent of two fully grown oak trees, or 30 tonnes of paper a year. Making this paper is energy intensive, uses over 300,000 litres of water and enough power to run 20 houses for a year.

Paper was traditionally whitened with chlorine. Chlorine used in paper production can react and create dioxins that go on to cause health conditions like endometriosis Manufacture of paper varies, with some paper still made using elemental chlorine, and other manufacturers switching to “Elemental Chlorine Free” (ECF) processes. Others use a “Totally Chlorine Free” (TCF) method which replaces the chlorine. “Processed Chlorine Free” (PCF) is the best option.

The NHS exclusively use Steinbeis.

At the GSA we can order and use PCF Steinbeis paper. It is recycled, so means no trees are directly cut down to make it. The manufacturing processes uses less water and energy. The paper is chlorine-free, and it costs less as well. More on purchasing PCF and other better papers.

Another supplier is Eco-Craft, who sell natural paper at heavier weights and in different colours, but check to make sure your preferred option is chlorine-free.

We’ve been conditioned to expect bright white paper, including when we present our project work. Steinbeis is off-white and takes a new mind-set, so we can help you change papers by briefing staff and students and provide a wider campaign within your building or department. To ease the transition, you could stock your printers with Steinbeis, but keep virgin fibre chlorinated paper as an option.

If you have dyslexia you could well find bright white paper is more difficult to read, off-white paper reduces glare. Steinbeis also ‘runs’ through printers as well as virgin fibre chlorinated paper. Switching to it is a change, but we hope a positive one colleagues will embrace.

Ask your department, lecturers or managers why they don’t use Steinbeis. Order through the GSA’s procurement system. Check how eco-friendly your current paper is here

Some links to ethical commercial printers who are ‘greener’ in at least part of their processes. Please do suggest more for this list if you find them:

Out of the Blueprint
Caledonian University Print Design Services
Marc the Printers
GMP Print Solutions