"Environmental paper calculators or eco audits visually convey environmental savings and eco-stewardship values at a glance." –Dion Zuess, ecoLingo

Check out these resources to help evaluate the environmental impacts of different papers…

Environmental paper calculators and eco audits: tools for environmentally preferable paper procurement

Interactive environmental paper calculators are handy tools that can be used to compare resource savings or impacts in terms of recycled content and energy use.

The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) offers an online Paper Calculator. This interactive tool is based on research done by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Paper Task Force, resulting in a peer-reviewed study of the life cycle environmental impacts of paper production and disposal. It is a valuable tool to evaluate paper choices and to measure environmental impacts of different papers in the context of recycled fiber content, energy, and life cycle.

Resource savings in trees or wood use, energy, greenhouse gases, waste water and solid waste are provided as part of the calculations. To learn more about the Paper Calculator and other EPN resources, visit the Environmental Paper Network.

Designers and print buyers can also find paper calculators on web sites of various paper companies (see sidebar). These calculators are typically based on the EDF's metrics, and as mentioned previously, can be used to easily compare resource savings that can be made by specifying papers manufactured with PCW recycled fiber content and renewable energy instead of papers manufactured with virgin fiber and fossil fuel generated electricity.

This in turn can guide paper choices and assist clients or customers in reducing their eco-footprint. When the calculations are followed up with a printed eco-audit or environmental savings or benefit statement with icons, resource savings can be provided at a glance in the front of a publication or elsewhere on a printed project.


Example shown above: An Environmental Benefits Statement or eco-audit by New Leaf Paper  showing how the USGBC Arizona Chapter saved resources in it's GREEN AZ Directory art-directed and designed by ecoLingo. Visit the PROJECTS page on this site to see related projects.


PHOTO: An image of an eco-audit or Environmental Benefits Statement by New Leaf Paper for another publication. Note how the statement was used on the table of contents page of the Green Building Expo Directory and Program to convey environmental savings and values. Making the event as environmentally responsible as possible was key to the Expo committee, and eco designer and consultant Dion Zuess of ecoLingo was commissioned to art direct and design the 84-page program and resource directory. The publication was printed with light ink coverage using low VOC, vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled paper.