Three new standards for paper and recycled products from Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) have been released and are accepting products for certification.
GECA’s Paper and Stationery Products, Sanitary Paper Products and Recycled Products standards have been updated from previous standards, with an expanded scope and revised criteria to set new environmental benchmarks for the products they cover. Manufacturers can choose to have their products certified against these standards to demonstrate their environmental, health and ethical credentials.
The Paper and Stationery Products standard covers paper and stationery products sold in Australia. Paper products can have negative environmental impacts throughout their life cycle, from raw material sourcing and manufacturing of pulp and paper to the disposal of the paper product. These impacts can include poor forest management practices, the release of toxic substances into the environment from processes such as bleaching, and impacts from the packaging and disposal of the product at the end of its life.
The Sanitary Paper Products standard addresses similar criteria to the Paper and Stationery Products standard, but is designed for a different range of products. The standard covers toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels, table napkins, general purpose wipes and other paper products used for cleaning or personal hygiene.
Both of GECA’s new paper standards aim to promote:
- Sustainable management of forests to minimise ecosystem disturbance
- A reduction in toxic and polluting emissions to air and water
- A reduction in energy usage and encouraging energy from renewable sources
- The reduction of environmental damage or risks related to the use of hazardous chemicals.
- Improvements in waste management, as considerable quantities of waste may be generated between the raw material stage and the completed paper product.
Recycled content can be a major component in consumer and industrial products. Recycling certain materials has paved the way for a lower impact on the environment compared with the use of newly sourced (virgin) materials, with recycled products often having the same strength and performance characteristics of their non-recycled equivalents.
GECA’s Recycled Products standard is applicable to products made from at least 50% recycled glass, plastics, rubber, timber, and fill and foundation materials such as sand and gravel.
More information is available at geca.org.au.
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) runs Australia’s only independent, not-for-profit, multi-sector ecolabelling program and is the only Australian member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN). It develops standards against which products can be independently audited by GECA’s JAS-ANZ accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs). Its standards are developed following ISO 14024 principles for global best practice in ecolabelling.