As brides and grooms start to think more about the environmental impact of their wedding, the demand for eco conscious and ethically sourced wedding products is increasing. Fabrics, bio-degradable food products and ethical fashion go hand in hand with eco-friendly paper products.
When it comes to choosing eco-friendly paper products for wedding invitations and stationary, suppliers are responding to this increased demand by including paper and card stock from recycled papers, renewable resources and out of the box materials such as stone. It is an exciting time for the couples wanting to have a smaller environmental wedding footprint.
When a paper is classed as being recycled that means the paper can be made up of either pre-consumer waste – off cuts from paper manufacturing, or post-consumer waste – paper that has been used by the consumer and recycled.
Most paper suppliers, even mainstream office supply chains, are now stocking paper which is made from recycled products. The percentage of recycled content can vary, so it pays to read the packaging.
More frequently, recycled papers have the same feel, look and texture as other premium non-recycled products and are suitable for use in inkjet, laser printers and photocopiers. Paper mills are constantly improving the level of printability on recycled paper stocks.
The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global non profit initiative and labelling certification that promotes 3 main principles with regards to forestry industry (inc paper manufacturing) 1) Environmentally appropriate – protecting and maintaining natural communities and high conservation value forests. 2) Socially beneficial – respecting the rights of workers, communities and indigenous people. 3) Economically viable – building markets, adding best value and creating equitable access to benefits.
So when it comes to paper in general – recycled or not, check for the FSC certification label to know you are supporting a product that has been certified as
coming from a responsible source that supports forest conservation and social benefits.
Alternative fibres such as kenaf (similar to hemp) bamboo, hemp or sugar cane are all annually renewable crops and often make up a percentage of the paper content along with wood pulp. Cotton linter is often used and is a by-product of cotton processing in the clothing industry and adds strength, durability and texture to paper products.
Alternative fibres all have unique qualities that they bring to the finished paper, often without compromising on print quality. Obtaining samples from suppliers will enable you to see if the paper stock is suitable for your invitation design and concept.
Stone – yes stone, is a relatively new paper product where waste stone, rock and tile off cuts are ground down and used to recover the calcium carbonate which is then made into stone paper.
The benefits of stone paper include an obvious durability, manufacturers claim that stone paper is the world’s most environmentally friendly paper. It contains no wood fibre, has low carbon emissions and uses significantly less energy to produce than wood fibre paper.
It can be used in most situations where conventional and synthetic paper is used and offers exceptional printing, water proofing and tear resistant qualities. It is recyclable but not compostable in the conventional sense as it wont attract insects or organisms.
Artisan and craft producers will also have small batch ranges of handmade papers, often containing visible fibres and unique components such as dried flowers, seeds or animal fibres. These papers are a wonderful embellishments to your printed invitations and can be used as backing papers. The difficulty with unique papers is they may not give consistent printed results and may cause problems with home printers.
As with other aspects of planning a more eco-conscious wedding, paper selection can take some research and time to get paper samples and make sure they fit your vision. But with an increasing range in mainstream settings, paper which is healthier for the planet, is now more accessible than it has ever been. Creating a wedding in line with your own values around responsible use of resources can also be reflect in your wedding invitations.