Not-for-profit environmental labelling organisation The Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) is seeking community and commercial feedback on three new standards for paper and recycled products.

GECA’s Paper and Stationery Products, Sanitary Paper Products and Recycled Products standards have been updated from previous standards, with revised criteria to set new environmental benchmarks for the products they cover in Australia.

Manufacturers can choose to have their products certified against these standards to demonstrate their environmental, health and ethical credentials.

GECA said that 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. These 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.

Both of GECA’s new paper standards aim to promote:

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

GECA’s Recycled Products standard is applicable to products made from at least 50 per cent recycled glass, plastics, rubber, timber, and fill and foundation materials such as sand and gravel.

GECA welcomes comments on the standards from the public and industry professionals until 10 November. Draft copies of each standard are available on the GECA website

About GECA
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) runs Australia's only independent, not-for-profit, multi-sector ecolabelling program and is the only Australian member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN). It develops standards against which products can be independently audited by GECA’s JAS-ANZ accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs). Its standards are developed following ISO 14024 principles for global best practice in ecolabelling.