Paper Terminology

When navigating the sea of environmentally friendly paper choices, consumers have a lot of jargon to wade through. Here are some of the most common terms:

Post-consumer waste: Paper that was printed on, used and recycled.

Pre-consumer waste: Paper that wasn’t printed on or used by the consumer. Usually this is the trims from sheeting the master rolls.

Elemental chlorine-free (ECF): Paper is bleached with more benign chlorinated substitutes than elemental chlorine gas, such as chlorine dioxide. Dioxins and other carcinogens remain in the effluent but at significantly lower levels than from chlorine gas-based bleaching.

Process chlorine-free (PCF): Recycled paper is bleached with non-chlorine-based compounds like ozone, oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, but the pulp may contain materials that were originally bleached with chlorine.

Totally chlorine-free (TCF): Paper is bleached with no chlorine-based compounds and contains no fiber that was bleached with chlorine.