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Sustainability Definitions

Biocompostable – Plastic and paper products which disintegrate and biodegrade completely and safely when composted in a municipal or commercial facility. The process of biocomposting is usually completed within 90 days.

Biodegradable – Materials that decompose, usually by bacteria or sunlight, into original organic components within a reasonably short period of time. Most organic materials (paper, grass clippings, food scraps), under the right conditions, are biodegradable.

Bioplastic – Plastics made from corn, potato or other annually renewable sources which are compostable & biodegradable.

Chain-of-Custody (CoC) – Certification assures consumers and forest product companies that the wood they purchase is sourced from certified forests. If a business is involved in the production or delivery of certified products, it must hold a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) CoC certificate in order to make claims about the FSC content in its products.

Cradle to Cradle Design – A system of thinking based on the belief that human design can approach the effectiveness and elegance of natural systems by learning from nature and incorporating its patterns. The ideal cradle-to-cradle packaging product is designed so that all of its materials safely cycle within either a biological or technical metabolism and are reused or recovered at their highest possible value.

De-Inking – Removal of ink and other materials from printed papers. Principal operations are flotation, washing, centrifugal cleaning, and dispersion. De-inking is the key to producing highly recyclable material (high or low grades).

Dow Jones Sustainable Index – Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes provides a financial quantification of member companies’ sustainability strategy and their management of sustainability opportunities, risks and costs. Because "What gets measured, gets done", they will be motivated to increase long-term shareholder value by integrating economic, environmental and social factors in their business strategies.

Eco-efficiency – To do more with less resources.

Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) – Designation used for virgin paper that uses a chlorine derivative (e.g. chlorine dioxide) instead of elemental chlorine for whitening during the pulping process. Elemental chlorine was phased out as of April 2001, per the EPA's Cluster Rule. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Commission recognize it as "Best Available Technology."

Energy from Waste (EfW) – A safe, technologically advanced means of waste disposal while also generating clean, renewable energy. Direct combustion is the most common EfW implementation. It works by burning waste that cannot be recycled. The combustion process produces high-pressure steam that is converted to electrical power using a turbine and generator. The electricity is then fed into the national grid or supplied to the local community.

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) – an international organization that brings people together to find solutions which promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests.

Key Performance Indicators – Value concepts difficult to measure.

Life Cycle Analysis – The key measurement tool for environmental sustainability is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is a technique for assessing the environmental impacts associated with a product (or service), covering all stages in a product's life.

Life Cycle Inventory – A product's life cycle starts when raw materials are extracted from the earth, followed by manufacturing, transport and use, and ends with waste management including recycling and final disposal. At every stage of the life cycle there are emissions and consumption of resources. The environmental impacts from the entire life cycle of products and services need to be addressed. To do this, life cycle thinking is required.

Metrics – Quantitative Measurements.

Monopack – Package that is made from same material for easy sorting and recycling. An aluminum can with a paper label is not a monopack.

PolyLactic Acid (PLA) – Material made from corn-starch, with a look and feel of petroleum-based plastic. PLA is the one of the most commonly used bioplastics for making products.

Post-Consumer Waste – Paper containing fiber that has been in circulation in finished form and has been recycled by the end user. It is considered the most environmentally efficient since it has had at least one useful life before returning to service. Papers with the highest post-consumer waste content are considered the most eco-friendly.

Pre-Consumer Waste – Paper or scraps left over from manufacturing, converting or trimming in the mill or print house. It may also include unsold magazines & newspapers. Although the paper and scraps are being reused, this paper has never made the journey to the consumer and back again.

Process Chlorine Free (PCF) – Designation used for recycled papers indicating that no chlorine or chlorine compounds were used in the pulp and papermaking process.

Recyclable – Material that still has useful physical or chemical properties after serving its original purpose and can be reused or remanufactured to make new products.

Recycled Paper – True recycled content papers are defined as papers containing a minimum of 30% post consumer fiber by weight.

Renewable Energy – Energy created from resources that are regenerative or renewable and cannot be depleted. Examples include wind, solar, and water power. These resources are safe for our environment and produce energy without the harmful pollutants and emissions associated with fossil-fuels.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) – represent the environmental and economic value of electricity produced from clean, renewable, emission-free energy resources that are safe for our environment and will never be depleted. RECs hold real and quantifiable economic value and act like a form of currency that allows the environmental attributes of renewable energy generation to be separated from the electricity commodity and to be sold as a separate product.

Repulpable – The ability of waste paper to be converted into good quality secondary fiber. The process involves converting the waste paper into a slurry form, separating the intertwined fibers into individual fibers.

Source Reduction – To eliminate waste and use less packaging.

Supply Chain Efficiency – Two supply chains exist in virtually all forms of commerce, the physical and the financial supply chain. The management of the physical supply chain has evolved from physical logistics management to more sophisticated transaction management and now to planning and collaboration between trading partners. Most companies have spent the last few years focused on improving physical supply chain efficiency. Benefits include shorter time to market, reduced production costs, reduced inventory costs, and better collaboration between partners.

Sustainability – Actions we take that support quality of life now and for future generations.

Third Party Certifications – Independent laboratories that quantify the performance of products.

Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) – Designation used for virgin fiber papers in which no chlorine or chlorine compounds were used in the pulping process.

Wind Energy – A clean source of energy produced when specially designed wind turbines capture the wind to generate electricity. Modern wind turbines are the fastest growing and most cost-effective renewable energy technology in the world.