New GECA Standards for Recycled Paper Products in Australia

Australian not-for-profit eco-labelling program, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) is accepting products for certification under three new standards for paper and recycled products. 

Australian not-for-profit eco-labelling program, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) is accepting products for certification under three new standards for paper and recycled products.

The organisation explained that its 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.

According GECA recycled content is a major component in consumer and industrial products, and recycling certain materials has paved the way for a lower impact on the environment compared with the use of virgin materials.

It added that recycled products often have 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.

The Paper and Stationery Products standard covers paper and stationery products sold in Australia.

According to GECA 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.

The organisation added that the 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.

GECA said that its new paper standards aim to promote:

Improvements in waste management, as considerable quantities of waste may be generated between the raw material stage and the completed paper product 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.

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