Green Printing Acronyms
VOC: Volatile Organic Chemicals
PCW: Post Consumer Waste paper- That the fiber is recycled from previous use. This is expressed as a percentage. Usually, this is expressed at about 30%, 50%, or 100%.
TCF: Totally Chlorine Free
ECF: Elemental Chlorine Free
FSC®: Forest Stewardship Council®
Green Printing Terms
Sustainable: Defined by one source as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
Virgin Paper: Coming directly from trees, it contains the strongest and purest fiber and requires the most energy to manufacture. It obviously has the most immediate impact on the forest. However, that impact may be mitigated if the pulp is harvested from a source that is part of a forest sustainability program.
Its first-generation status means that virgin paper has not undergone prior printing, which can make it the most chemical free depending on its bleaching process. When specifying virgin paper, care should be taken to ensure the pulp comes from a sustainable source.
Recycled Paper: Use of this has grown substantially. Recycling allows the same fiber to be used and reused many times over. Recovered fiber now provides almost 37% of the domestic raw material used to make paper products, which has helped reduce the pressure on forests and landfills. Recycled paper uses less energy and produces fewer emissions in manufacturing than virgin paper.
Content may include pre-consumer waste, post-consumer waste (PCW), totally recycled fiber (TRF), or various blends of each. Recycled paper has improved in quality dramatically over the past decade, in most cases performing as well as virgin stock, and has become cost competitive.
Process Chlorine Free (PCF): Products carrying the PCF designation indicate that no chlorine or chlorine compounds were used in the pulp and paper making process. PCF fibers have not been re-bleached with chlorine-containing compounds, though some chlorine may remain from the manufacture of the source of the material.
Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF): ECF is a designation for virgin paper that uses chlorine derivative (usually chlorine dioxide) instead of elemental chlorine for whitening in the pulping process. ECF pulp has become the most wide spread replacement for elemental chlorine pulp to date and produces paper with the same tactile qualities, strength, and brightness. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Commission recognize it as “Best Available Technology.”
Totally Chlorine Free (TCF): The TCF label, designated for virgin fiber papers, indicates that no chlorine or chlorine compounds were used in the pulping process. Although TCF paper initially could not achieve the brightness of ECF papers, it has improved, and many TCF papers now approach the brightness levels of ECF papers.
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