This has been a really tough post to research and write but it is long overdue.
‘Reflex 100% Recycled Paper’ claims to contain the highest amount of recycled content of any Australian made office paper. They say it is great for the local environment because unlike imported papers, the waste paper used to make ‘Reflex 100% Recycled’ is diverted from Australian landfill.
Sounds good doesn’t it? In fact the claim ticks all my boxes when selecting copy paper; Australian made (not owned however) and 100% recycled.
After doing a little digging and researching into the claim ‘100% recycled’, I found that the meaning of the claim isn’t what I thought.
What does recycled mean? I bet if I asked 100 people randomly most will have a similar answer “to brake down a used product to make a new one”. Well strap yourself in, as you are about to go on a crazy show ride, which undoubtedly will leave you feeling a little sickly afterwards.
The sickness for me comes from the understanding that there is a word missing for the Reflex 100% recycled claim. There are two types of recycled paper ‘pre-consumer’ and ‘post-consumer’. What do these two words mean and which word should Reflex be adding to their claim?
Post-consumer involves recycling paper from offices and homes after use (which is what I think most people envisioned paper recycling is all about). Pre-consumer involves recycling tree/wood off cuts which people argue would have been thrown out anyway so hence they are recycling it. Now you need to stop and take a deep breath as I ask “where were the trees growing before they were cut down to create the recycled off cuts?”
There are only two choices 1. Plantations (some are better than others in regards to a sustainability resource). 2. Old growth or virgin forests.
Can you believe that a paper making company can argue that their paper is 100% recycled when the recycled material comes from plantation trees or even worse old growth forests?
Reflex is owned by Paperlinx/Amcor which is not an Australian owned company but they are the only company that makes copy paper in Australia. Paperlinx/Amcor also sells Reflex under other labels: Oz Copy, Optx, Copyright and Australian Paper. Source
What I have learnt to look for when purchasing copy paper is:
- The highest percentage of post-consumer materials used to make the copy paper.
- Can the wrap and packaging be recycled and were they also made from post-consumer materials?
- What type of (if any) bleaching was used? (Another subject for another post but basically I don’t want to select paper that uses chlorine as a bleach. Select TCF paper or ‘Totally Chlorine Free’)
Ideally I would love my copy paper to also be made by an Australian company. Alas one does not exist that meets the above criteria (with more consumer awareness this may change).
So after six months of researching, I have reached the decision to buy Evolve Paper. Yes it has to be imported from overseas which means more travel emissions etc but I have weighed it up and knowing that 100% of the pulp comes from post-consumer materials is exceptional and needs to be applauded and supported.
Paperlinx/Amcor I will not be buying ‘Reflex 100% Recycled’ until you can also claim 100% is from post-consumer materials.
Also on that note Paperlinx/Amcor I find it totally unacceptable that any of your products are sourced from the destruction of Australia’s native forests. 60% of our native forests have been cleared since Europeans arrived. Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth about your company and your brands. Source