Why I will NOT BE buying Reflex 100% Recycled Paper!


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:

  1. The highest percentage of post-consumer materials used to make the copy paper.
  2. Can the wrap and packaging be recycled and were they also made from post-consumer materials?
  3. 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 

More information check these out:  CES Victoria     Wilderness Society



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16 thoughts on “Why I will NOT BE buying Reflex 100% Recycled Paper!

    • Well done Hilde and thank you for your support.

      Thank you for joining the Wilderness Society with deciding not to buy any Reflex papers and not buying anything from Officeworks.

      If you have time, sign the Ethical Paper Pledge (click link below). Add your name to the individuals and companies who have signed the pledge.

      You will see Sarhn McArthur Photography listed under the companies who have signed the pledge. Yep no Reflex or Officeworks for me or my business.


      Thanks again Hilde for your support.


  1. Hi Dan,

    I actually did HHHHhhhheeeaaappps of reasearch for this article. This article was reasearch and written well over a year ago (check out the date at the top).

    I can assure you that Fuji Xerox papers did not have any product at the time of writing this post, that had 100% recycle post comsumed.

    Thanks for adding your comment and good on you for being aware of recycled paper issues and for thinking about what you buy in regards to the environmental impact – top marks Dan!


  2. Hi, how much research did you do inot ‘evolve’ papers??? It’s an 80% recycled paper. If you were looking at the best post-consumer waste paper then you can’t go past Fuji Xerox Recycled Pure. Sure it’s also make overseas but it’s made from an FSC mill, has the nortic blue angel accreditation + is 100% recycled POST-CONSUMER!!!

    It’s tops.


  3. Pingback: An Unusual Week « Greener Me

  4. Becky I hear what you mean i.e. ‘opaque’. You know your comments have really flared up my concerns with this subject again. My latest post about this subject, included very similar concerns as to why Reflex doesn’t have any of their claims on their website or packaging (well they hadn’t when I wrote the last post on this subject).

    I need to go back and try to get a response out of Reflex again.

    Thanks Becky for your comments and information!!



  5. I did read the pdf, but found it a little opaque. It says it uses 100% post-consumer waste from home, office and industry, as well as printers and converters, in accordance with a Aust/NZ ISO 14021 self-regulation standards. I read the standard, and all seems ok, but you’d think they would trumpet this to the hills if it were indeed fully supportable as fact.

    There is little/no information on de-inking chemicals, what happens to the sludge afterwards, whether the mill is ISO or FSC CoC rated etc etc.

    I judge a paper based on its whole impact, and the issue of transparency of process is also a factor. If the information is hard to find/not fully specified, then I tend to shy away a little. Usually this stuff is plainly written, even if it is not the best environmental standard.

    I usually research printing papers, so my knowledge of copier papers is only just being updated now.. sorry I can’t give any more info!


  6. Hi Becky,

    Thank you for your comment and information.

    Like you I found it really hard to find any info about Reflex papers from Reflex themselves. In Dec 2008, I found a PDF statement /media release on the internet about Reflex 100% recycled paper.

    It was this statement that was the source behind my updated post to this one.

    Becky I would really be interested in your thoughts & comments on my updated post in regards to Reflex’s statement PDF. There is a link above in red at the top of this post.

    Thank you again for stopping by as it is nice to meet other Aussie, women, creative business owners that are on the journey of living a ‘greener’ life.

    I checked out your website too – thanks for adding it as a link.



  7. Hi,
    I’m a sustainably-oriented graphic designer, researching some stock office papers for a client, and just wanted to give you a little more info on pre-consumer waste. (I found your post trying to find ANY info on Reflex’s claim).
    Most of it is what is called “Mill broke”. This is paper that has been made from virgin fibre (ie trees) with any/all levels of harmful bleaching etc, which has not made the grade or standards of the mill. Perhaps they mixed in too much water and it tears easier, whatever. This paper is then recycled to make a second batch of paper.
    Definitely try to find out what percentage is pre and what is post-consumer waste. Good on you for spreading the word!

    I am currently looking at Fuji Xerox Green Wrap. It’s not bad, it’s made in Oz and they are very transparent about how it is made. It’s a good start for them!


  8. Hi Andrew,

    Sorry for the late reply – I was photographing a huge conference all day yesterday.

    Please read my latest post as it answers your question. I have updated the above post with a link to my latest post about this subject – click on the red link at the top of this page.

    Thanks for reading.



  9. Pingback: Proud now buy 100% Recycled Reflex Paper « Greener Me

  10. Hi Whistle Ink Office Supplies,

    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Education is power. There is nothing more annoying for a conscerned customer to be thinking they are buying a product that will not harm the environment only to find the companies ‘green’ claims are shonky.

    Thanks again for your comment.



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