In a Green Haze?

Going Green is an essential component of most firms’ business plans.  But there are so many different levels of Going Green.  As the Green movement evolves, it’s become difficult for most of us to keep up with all the different terminology and make an educated decision regarding our Green policies.
Below are some of the most often used Green terms along with easy-to-understand definitions to keep in mind when entering the Green Zone.
Alternative Fiber:  These are fibers, such as cotton and bamboo, which are used instead of tree/wood-based fibers to reduce the carbon footprint created by the production process. 
Brightness:  The percentage of light reflected from the surface of a sheet of paper – usually measured on a scale of 0-100.  Brightness is not necessarily related to the whiteness of the sheet, but refers to the amount of light reflected back to the viewer.  Brighter sheets provide a better background for crisper colors.  Most papers fall into the 92-96 range.
Caliper:  Measures of the thickness of a sheet paper in thousandths of an inch (points or mils).  Generally, cotton fiber adds to the thickness of a sheet.  Post consumer waste (PCW) fibers are shorter than cotton fibers.  Therefore a high PCW content can reduce the caliper of a sheet.
Carbon Neutral:  This refers to a production process in which CO2 emissions are independently measured, then reduced to net zero through a mix of internal reductions (e.g., change in manufacturing process) and best practice external reductions (e.g., carbon offsetting).
Cotton Fiber:  Recognized by the EPA as recovered fibers and considered recycled material.  Cotton fiber is completely tree-free and is the standard choice for the legal industry due to its durability, texture, crisp image and archival qualities.

Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF):  A bleaching process that substitutes chlorine dioxide for more harmful elemental chlorine in the bleaching process of virgin fibers.  

FSC Certified:  This certification of only wood-based products, granted by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – a nonprofit organization that sets standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way – guarantees that wood comes from certified, responsibly managed forestlands, and is tracked throughout the supply chain, from the forest to the consumer. 
Green Seal:  A nonprofit organization devoted to environmental standard setting, product certification, advertising claims substantiation and public education.
Green-E:  A renewable energy certification program that includes competitive energy products, utility green pricing programs, and renewable energy certificates.
Hydroelectric/Hydropower Energy:  A renewable energy source that is harvested by directing water through a turbine connected to an electrical generator, thereby converting the kinetic energy of moving water into electrical energy. 
Processed Chlorine-Free (PCF):  A bleaching process that uses no chlorine-based compounds to make recycled paper.
PCW (Post Consumer Waste) Content: Refers to the portion of a product that contains material from previously used recycled items.  The higher the percentage of PCW content in a product, the better for the environment. 
Recycled:  Paper made at least in part from recovered fibers/materials.
Tree-Free:  Refers to fibers that are as strong as wood fiber, but come from rapidly renewable agricultural crops such as cotton, or from agricultural by-products such as cotton linters.  The cotton content in paper is considered tree-free and recycled by the EPA, which makes it an environmentally friendly option. 

Need HELP?  ASL is committed to helping your firm Go Green.
We offer a broad selection of environmentally responsible products and the expertise to help you identify and purchase those that will best fit your firm’s needs.  We have also introduced the first private-label FSC certified (certification: SW-COC-002761), 75+% Recycled, 50% PCW, Carbon Neutral, Cotton sheet. 
Call your account manager today at 800.222.0510 or visit to find out more about what ASL is doing to protect the environment.

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