What paper should I specify? This
is the most important environmental question graphics professionals
are likely to face on a regular basis. Through our paper choices,
we are directly connected to the preservation or the degradation
of land, water, air and the creatures that dwell therein. The good
news is that we now have plenty of alternatives to the destructive
papers of the past. The recycled and tree-free papers listed in
the Ecological Guide to Paper generate fewer toxins
and impact the environment far less than standard virgin wood, chlorine-bleached
Berkeley, CA-based Celery Design Collaborative, in association with
the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) San Francisco Chapter,
has published this Ecological Guide to Paper. The double-sided poster
features information on more than 40 environmentally superior papers
from 21 manufacturers. It lists fiber
content, basic weights and even price range for the best ecological
papers on the market today.
We created this as a practical tool to help designers integrate
ecological thinking into their normal work flow, says Brian
Dougherty, a partner at Celery. It is the kind of thing people
can pin on the wall and immediately have access to all of the information
they need in order to make the switch to using better papers.
Each paper in the guide contains either 100-percent recycled fiber
(at least 50-percent post-consumer) or a significant amount of tree-free
fiber. We set the bar high to demonstrate that 10-percent
or 20-percent recycled is no longer the best that designers can
practically do, says Dougherty. Many of these papers
match mainstream stocks in quality and price and have much better
environmental profiles than what most designers are currently specifying.
In addition, no chlorine gas (elemental chlorine) was used to bleach
any of the fibers in these papers.
The flip side of the poster has a large illustration of the typical
papermaking process that is at once chaotic, disturbing and strangely
beautiful. It renders an abridged lifecycle of the virgin
papermaking process as a sort of decayed forest littered with
bits of hand-drawn text. Patrick Castro, a partner at Celery and
the chief illustrator for this project, says, We tried to
make the poster work on several levels. Its an overwhelming
mess from 20 feet away, which conveys the wastefulness of virgin
papermaking. From five feet, you can make out a landscape of decrepit
trees. From two feet, you can see that the trees are actually diagrams
of inputs (branches) and outputs (roots) of the various stages involved
in making virgin paper. At this level, the poster is really about
educating people on what goes into the paper they use.
This is the first of such tools to help clients weigh economic and
ecological considerations in design, which were begun in the spring
of 2001. The guide can be viewed on-line at www.celerydesign.com
paper in addition to its poster form. The second tool in the series,
the Ecological Guide to Color, will be completed in October 2001.
For more information on the guide,
call 510-649-7155 or visit www.celerydesign.com.