Direct Mail — With a Conscience
For many organizations, the use of recycled paper stocks for printed fundraising materials has long been a key component to demonstrating environmental responsibility. However, the limitations of recycled stocks traditionally have made them a challenge to use. Inconsistent sheet quality can reduce printability, while limited stock choices and higher costs often have relegated their use to special projects such as donor-acquisition campaigns.
But that’s all changed over the past few years. Today, recycled stocks are of much higher quality than they were even five years ago, allowing organizations to use them for all of their printed communications if they choose. But perhaps the biggest shift has been in the paper-manufacturing process itself. Everyone from forest owners and paper manufacturers to printing- and mail-services providers has placed a greater emphasis on sustainable environmental stewardship — a phrase you’re likely to hear much more frequently in the coming year.
Let’s review the key factors to keep in mind when selecting a recycled stock. We’ll then take a look at some of the major sustainability initiatives currently in place.
Know your acronyms
If you’ve recently purchased recycled paper or researched the marketplace choices, you’ve likely struggled with how to parse the many designations used to identify exactly what’s in recycled paper and how it was made. The most important of these are post-consumer waste and pre-consumer waste. Keep in mind that recycled paper manufacturers use PCW to refer to post-consumer waste.
PCW is recovered paper that has served its intended end use, such as a newspaper, direct mail or office copy paper. Pre-consumer waste refers to manufactured paper that has never reached the consumer and can be generated from printing waste, rejected stock or paper-end rolls produced in the paper-making process. Recycled paper is categorized by its percentage of post-consumer waste content, which is generally 10 percent PCW for coated stocks and 30 percent PCW for uncoated stocks.