Just because it's Brown, doesn't mean it's Recycled!

Just because it's Brown, doesn't mean it's Recycled!

Many customers come to our store because they are looking for Australian Made recycled brown paper for menus, invitations, cards, swing tags and more. This is what we supply. Recycled paper saves trees, energy and water and reduces waste going to landfill. But, from enquiries that we receive at BuyEcoGreen it’s obvious that there’s a lot of confusion about that other brown paper known as ‘Kraft Paper’ and whether it is recycled.

Brown Kraft paper is made from trees (not wastepaper!). The trees are chemically treated (pulped) to remove the lignin (binding material) in the tree fibre. Up to half the weight of the trees is removed in this way. The paper ends up as naturally brown unless you bleach it. If you do bleach it, you can get white kraft paper as used in white paper bags. Kraft paper is strong, so it’s commonly used in packaging and paper bags, and therefore has its place. But it’s not recycled.

Even some sellers of brown paper get it wrong (you can see this at times in marketplaces like ebay): they sometimes call plain brown kraft paper ‘recycled’ when it’s actually made directly from tree fibre. No wonder that ordinary buyers of paper are confused. So, remember, being brown does not automatically make it recycled.

Other times they call brown kraft paper ‘recyclable’. This really annoys us, because that’s a term designed to confuse people. Virtually ALL paper is recyclable (able to be recycled) by its very nature. There’s nothing special or meaningful in describing a paper as ‘recyclable’. It just misleads people to believe that it’s in fact recycled.

To be a genuine brown recycled paper, wastepaper has to be recovered and remade in a paper recycling mill. Some mills recycle mainly mixed wastepaper, which produces a recycled paper or board that is mainly grey in colour; other mills might specialise in recycling packaging or kraft papers, and their recycled papers or board will be more brown than grey. The major recycler of mixed and packaging waste in Australia is Visy Paper. Most of its papers and boards are grey to brown in colour.

If you want a genuine recycled paper, it’s best to stick to reputable suppliers who understand the industry.....