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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Deciphering Labels - FSC

On a lot of paper products that come in the mail (and on some cardboard) I have seen this symbol: It represents the Forest Stewardship Council. This is a third party verification organization to monitor environmental forest management. It is an international organization but there is a Canadian branch. It also requires producers that apply for certification meet standards protecting endangered wildlife, aboriginal people's rights, and worker conditions. Many banks print on FSC certified paper and building supplies can also be certified. These supplies fall under the subheading of Controlled Wood certification. On their Canadian website they state:

FSC Controlled Wood has been verified NOT to come from:
Illegally harvested forests;
Forests harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights;
Forests in which high conservation values are threatened;
Forests that are being converted to plantations or non-forest use; or
Forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.

The FSC logo can be printed with a lot of additional information which can require a little bit of deciphering. If the label looks like this: the product is from well managed forests but it 100% virgin material (no recycling).
If the label looks like this: it is made with a combination of FSC virgin fiber and recycled materials. The loop in the corner tells you how much is pre and post consumer recycled fiber.
Finally, if the image looks like this: the product is made entirely of recycled fiber and the loop % is the same as previous. The number at the bottom is a code number so the product can be tracked through the supply chain to the manufacturer, distributer, or supplier.

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