/ Recycled, FSC, or Synthetic? Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Paper For Map Printing

Until more recent climate-related catastrophes, you may not have given much thought to eco-friendly paper for your map printing project. However substrates, from wood-based paper to synthetics, all affect the environment in a pretty big way, from habitat loss to CO2 emissions. The world utilizes about 300-million tons of paper annually. Are there ways you and your business can safeguard your future, and the planet’s, with wiser substrate selections?

Delving Into the World of ‘Eco-Friendly’ Paper

As the name suggests, ‘eco-friendly’ substrates are greener than traditional substrate choices. The environmental impact and carbon footprint of these stocks is smaller, making the integration of such substrates into your operations a wise move for your business and the environment. Recycled paper is what tends to come into the minds of consumers shopping for more eco-friendly substrates, however, the world of environmentally friendly stocks is far wider….


Recycled Paper

As its namesake indicates, recycled paper is made from post-consumer recycled waste. No wood pulp from newly cut trees is used in 100% recycled paper products. Everything from old notebooks to packaging is reused instead. Helping keep trees in the ground with the use of recycled paper for a custom map, not only reduces the effects of deforestation and greenhouses gas emissions, but also keeps more oxygen in the atmosphere and reduces pollution through the ability of trees to filter particulates from the air. Recycling one-ton of paper for re-use reduces greenhouse gas emission by one-ton of carbon and saves 7,000-gallons of water. Take note, however, most forms of recycled paper do not contain 100% post-consumer waste, as using recycled content greatly affects the texture of paper products. Luckily, manufacturers are required to list the actual percentage on products, giving you surety in your purchase.


FSC Certified Paper

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a not-for-profit organization led by a group of environmentalists, businesses, and community leaders striving to protect the world’s forests by overseeing and promoting sustainable timber production and use. Certified suppliers that displace indigenous people or harm wildlife are not certified, ensuring ethically-sourced, environmentally sustainable wood. All FSC labeled map printing paper must follow a strict chain of custody to gain the FSC seal of approval, just like any other paper products. The FSC has certified about 429-million acres of forests across the globe. FSC products are clearly labeled, and unlike recycled substrates, are indistinguishable from traditional paper, giving it a wider appeal. Wish you could get the best of both worlds? FSC certified papers are widely available in the U.S. in a variety of options, including those made from wood materials, non-wood materials, as well as those with a percentage of recycled post-consumer paper waste.


Synthetic Substrates

Typically rely on lamination to protect your map printing project? You could save time and money and reduce the environmental impact of your design by opting for synthetics instead. Commonly referred to as ‘treeless paper,’ synthetic substrates from top companies like Mohawk and HopSyn are surprisingly difficult to distinguish from ‘real’ paper in spite of their polymer-based composition. Incredibly strong and durable, they resist tearing, water, grease, and other chemicals, depending on grade. Despite their manmade construction, they are also quite eco-friendly. Unlike laminated film, they are 100% recyclable. Their enhanced durability also keeps them out of the waste stream longer. The production of synthetics is also much more environmentally friendly than lamination, requiring no chlorine, heavy metals, stearates, harsh chemicals, or cancerous chemicals.

Sourcing Eco-Friendly Substrates

Eco-friendly options for your office’s printing needs are generally available at your local office supply store, and many can be found online. As for your map printing needs, this world is far wider, with a vast variety of choices in finishes (coated, uncoated), thicknesses and color options. For those new to the eco-friendly arena, to seek out the best substrate for your project, consulting with your printer is a wise decision, as they may be able to present options that solve map design and usage dilemmas before you even begin your project.

Save trees, decrease pollution, and safeguard the future of printed products, protecting forests with wiser substrate selections. Contact 1Vision to learn how we can service your next eco-friendly project with all our in-house capabilities.


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