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Paper Grades--Refocusing on Recycled

April 1998

Some experts attribute this to bad timing in the world paper climate. Reportedly, the mill openings coincided with a period during which cost for the wastepaper used to make deinked pulp was at an all-time high. At the same time, multinational companies began importing cheaper virgin pulp from mills in South America. Without a consistent market for recycled papers, some mills have kept struggling.

So, is there any hope for the returned popularity of recycled grades in what has been termed our "throwaway society"?

You bet. Just ask Sternau. Wheal-Grace has promoted eco-friendly printing processes for years, and has found that customers are very interested in recycled grades. "It used to be that you paid a premium for recycled paper," states Sternau. "But in the last year, we found that most mills and merchants have dropped the prices, so it's a level playing field."

Cunningham agrees. "It's leveled off," he states. "With all the new equipment at the mills, they're finding advantages to making recycled papers."

Re-educating Consumers
Since recycled grades are comparable in price to virgin papers, generating interest in recycled may just be a matter of reminding buyers of its availability and benefits.

"In general it's a matter of focusing buyers on [recycled papers], educating them and getting them to use the highest amount of postconsumer waste content," comments Sternau.

Wheal-Grace has developed an innovative way of reminding its clients of the effects of making environmentally sound paper and printing decisions—through its trademarked Green Print program.

As part of the program, Wheal-Grace consults with customers to help them choose the most appropriate paper and processes for the job. Then, using a proprietary software program, Wheal-Grace is able to calculate the environmental benefits of selecting such elements. Printed pieces carry the Green Print logo, as well as an environmental impact statement that details the project's savings of trees, air, water, landfill space and energy.

"We've had a lot of success with this program," notes Emil R. Salvini, president of Wheal-Grace. "Dozens of major companies, including Citibank, Con Edison and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, have chosen to go the eco-friendly Green Print way."

Interest has been so great that Wheal-Grace is now preparing to launch the Green Print licensing program to printers across the country, enabling them to share environmentally friendly options and results with print buyers.

"Over the past several years since we introduced the Green Print program, we have seen a steady interest in recycled paper," assesses Sternau.

"The burning issue of the day doesn't stay with us for decades," he muses. "Recycling is not quite a hot topic because it's been around so long."

However, with federal agencies upping their recycled fiber content and corporate America embracing environmentally friendly images, the popularity of recycled paper grades may just be warming up. Sternau also points out another demographic with a determined interest in recycling—the consumers and print buyers of tomorrow. Wheal-Grace works with elementary school students, introducing them to recycled paper.

"There is tremendous interest among young people in anything environmental," Sternau attests.

—Carolyn R. Bak

Completely Tree-Free

Looking to save a tree and produce a high-quality, distinguished annual report? Look no further. Unicorp Paper Industries, of Placentia, CA, has introduced Impressions Gloss, reportedly the world's first tree-free coated paper.

The Impressions Gloss line of premium coated papers is manufactured using high-quality bamboo pulp. The tropical grass fiber, grown in northern Thailand, has no bark, making it easier to process than trees. Additionally, bamboo is the second-fastest growing plant, with the ability to reach maturity within four years, and the capability to reach heights in excess of 100 feet.

The manner in which bamboo is cut benefits the ecosystem and reduces reforestation costs. Each plant produces about five new shoots per year—which are ready to cut in approximately four years. By cutting only the oldest shoots of each plant, the rest remains to flourish and regenerate—bamboo can survive and produce shoots for as long as 100 years.

The result? Fine-quality coated paper, perfect for a variety of uses including annual reports, brochures, catalogs, calendars, posters and more. Impressions Gloss is said to be a premium No. 1 coated sheet with extremely high brightness, excellent opacity and high bulk—and absolutely no tree fiber.


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