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Sabine Lenz of PaperSpecs talks about choosing the right sustainable paper for a project

Published on April 23, 2010

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  Hi.  I'm Gail Nickel-Kailing, WhatTheyThink Going Green and I'm here today with Sabine Lenz who is the -- I still want to say Chief Cook and Bottle Washer from Paper Specs.

Sabine Lenz:  That's fine.  Can you add paper goddess as well then?

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  And paper goddess.  The all-knowing all-wise paper person at Paper Specs.  So, Sabine, I'm coming to you asking you help me.  How do I choose the most responsible paper for a project?  How do I make that choice?

Sabine Lenz:  Wouldn't it be great if there would be a black-and-white answer and I will say, "Listen, this is it and you have to worry about nothing else."  I would like to compare like picking a paper is like buying a house; everybody has different priorities, you know.  Everybody is location, then it's a corner lot, you want hardwood floors, you want a big back yard.  So there are certain sustainable aspects that are more important to some people than to others.

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  Right.

Sabine Lenz:  We -- I personally work off a score card, so to speak.  Which is some red elements that you should not do, which is virgin uncertified fiber, for example.  So there's some green points, recycled content is one of those.  FSC SFI certified paper.  But that is a lot of work to set something up for each project.  So to keep it really short and simple, my recommendation is always use some form of post consumer waste and certified fiber, whether it SFI, FSC, or PFC certified fiber and that is the bottom line of what you should do when it comes to sustainable paper.  And on top of that, the icing on the cake, obviously if you go to green ****, to carbon neutral, and so on.

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  So you're really stepping up through a process?

Sabine Lenz:  Yes.

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  Depending on how far you want to dig into it.  So have you advice for somebody to streamline this process?  Is it build spreadsheet?  Is it --

Sabine Lenz:  Yeah, that's what I call the score card and some other designers have picked up on that and we're all working with this.  So it's been like a traffic light system and hey send me an e-mail.  No, actually we have a webinar on our website we did this a few months ago.  It's called, "Hands On Green Paper."  And we were reflecting back to this just because it's easy for a company, for example, or for a person, to say okay this is important for me and then you have your red, your yellow, your green dots and you can see okay this paper fits into this matrix and this is why we picked this or it doesn't fit our matrix and we don't.

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  Great.  Great.  Sounds practical and fairly simple.

Sabine Lenz:  Well, we try to.

Gail Nickel-Kailing:  Thank you.


Sabine Lenz:  You're welcome.

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