Municipal paper gets greener 

Although the municipality is frequently criticized for pushing paper, at least the quality of the paper itself will be beyond reproach.

In keeping with its commitment to sustainability, the Resort Municipality of Whistler will switch to a more sustainable paper for printing and copying. After reviewing the alternatives, they at last selected New Life Dual Purpose 100 paper, which contains 80 per cent post-consumer recycled content, and is made with a 100 per cent chlorine-free process. It’s also manufactured in Canada by Cascades Inc. of Quebec.

The last paper stock used was approximately 30 per cent recycled and was produced with chlorine.

According to the RMOW press release, chlorine combines with wood molecules to form organochlorines and has been linked to cancer and other immune system malfunctions, while accumulating in the environment. Chlorine-free process paper is whitened with oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, ozone or enzymes, or is recycled without re-bleaching.

Because the paper used in the recycling process contains chlorine, the paper is not completely chlorine-free.

Since the municipality uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper each year for copying and printing, the switch to 80 per cent recycled stock will save approximately 32 trees each year.

And by buying Canadian, the paper is economically and socially sustainable because it employs Canadians and keeps dollars in the country.

The cost is slightly higher than the previous stock, but the RMOW plans to offset that by using less paper – for example, printers and copiers now print on both sides.

In addition to the copying and printing paper, the municipality already uses letterhead and other official stationary that’s printed on 100 per cent forest-free paper made from hemp and sugar cane, manufactured by Domtar, called weeds. Unfortunately, Domtar will no longer manufacture this line of paper, and is looking for a new sustainable stock for summer.

The RMOW is one of the Early Adopters of the Whistler’s sustainability initiative, Whistler. It’s Our Nature, which is based on The Natural Step principles. For more information, visit www.whistleritsournature.ca.

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