General Cleaning

Paper Products Industry "Green" Glossary

Unlocking the “Green” Glossary of the Paper Products Industry

In the realm of the paper products industry, embracing environmentally conscious practices and materials is crucial. This “Green” Glossary serves as a comprehensive guide, shedding light on key terms and concepts that define sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives within the industry.

100% Recycled

Paper products labeled as 100% recycled have undergone recycling after the papermaking process, contributing to the reduction of environmental impact.


Refers to materials capable of decomposing naturally, minimizing their environmental footprint.

Carbon Footprint

A measure of greenhouse gas emissions associated with an individual, organization, event, or product. Understanding and reducing the carbon footprint is pivotal for sustainable practices.

Chain-of-Custody Certification

Products with this certification meet specific requirements throughout their life cycle, ensuring responsible extraction, production, distribution, and sale.

Closed-Loop Recycling

A recycling system where a used product is recycled into a similar one, showcasing a commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes.


Preserving and renewing human and natural resources, emphasizing the protection and improvement of resources for economic and social benefits.


The scattering or distribution of substances within a specific area or space.

Ecological Footprint

A measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems, comparing human consumption with the planet’s capacity to regenerate resources.

Elemental Chlorine Free

The elimination of elemental chlorine in the bleaching process, replaced with chlorine dioxide for eco-friendly paper production.

Energy Efficiency

Utilizing less energy to provide the same level of energy service, promoting sustainable energy practices.

Environmental Sustainability

Ensuring the long-term maintenance of ecosystem components and functions for the well-being of future generations.

Environmentally Friendly

Goods or services designed to inflict minimal harm on the environment, contributing to sustainable practices.


Defined by Presidential Executive Order 13101, it denotes products or services with reduced effects on health and the environment compared to alternatives.

Green Cleaning

Cleaning practices that prioritize health protection without compromising environmental well-being.

Green Washing

Misleading practices regarding a company’s environmental practices or a product’s benefits.

Post-Consumer Content

Material collected after products were purchased, used, and discarded.

Pre-Consumer Content

Material collected directly from the source where it was created, emphasizing the reduction of waste in manufacturing.

Processed Chlorine Free

A term reserved for recycled content paper, indicating compliance with EPA guidelines and a minimum post-consumer content requirement.

Recycled Content

Materials recovered or diverted from the waste stream, either during manufacturing (pre-consumer) or after consumer use (post-consumer).


The process of collecting, separating, or processing materials to be reused as raw materials or finished goods, contributing to waste reduction.

Renewable Energy

Energy sources continually replenished from an Earth perspective.


Practices ensuring the continued viability of a product or practice well into the future.

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)

The management of forests according to sustainable development principles.

Total Recycled Content

Includes all recycled materials regardless of origin, promoting waste reduction and responsible manufacturing.

Totally Chlorine Free

Reserved for virgin fibers, indicating that no chlorine or chlorine-containing compounds were used in the bleaching process.


As the paper products industry strives for environmental responsibility, this glossary provides a foundation for understanding and implementing sustainable practices. From recycling to renewable energy, each term plays a role in creating a greener future for the industry.

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