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Our Eco-Friendly Philosophy

What do you mean 'recycled' isn't always the best choice?

This is usually the place where paper sites show a stock image of a wind turbine, a dewy leaf or maybe the ubiquitous recycle symbol. While we're not opposed to a pretty picture, we're taking a more pragmatic approach.

There is no one best solution

We all understand that there is no perfect eco-friendly solution. Every paper comes with pros and cons with respect to its environmental impact. (Many "alternative" and highly renewable fibers, for example, has to be transported long distances.) We also understand the need to balance your definition of “green” with your aesthetic and their budget. As an example, we often get asked for our most environmentally friendly paper. Our reply is to present a gorgeous handmade recycled-cotton paper, dried by the sun. When shown the cost, the client usually asks for something a “little less eco-friendly”. It’s important to find a balance.

There is no one best solution for eco-friendly paper. There are, however, a lot of different things that can be done to reduce a paper's impact on the environment. Our goal is to present our customers with as much information as we can and let you decide for yourself which paper meets your requirements.

Our classification system

To show what GREEN means to us, we've developed five categories we feel best represent the key environmental factors that are important to our customers. Alternative Energy, Chlorine-Free, Handmade Papers, Mill Certification and Tree-Free. Using these five categories helps to identify those products which meet your expectations for environmental responsibility.

Whether it's water, wind or solar, when a manufacturer invests in alternate sources of energy to power their business, the impact affects us all.  That's why we've highlighted these papers which are produced by mills using various alternative methods to produce electricity minimizing their carbon footprint.  Some mills even use agro-waste materials to generate energy. Our digital imaging division, Moab by Legion Paper, runs on 100% wind energy and is located in the heart of the west's national parks system where there is an emphasis on living green.  Legion Paper has been recognized for its Champion-level participation in the Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky program by converting its Moab offices to 100% renewable wind power.  

Our Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) papers have been bleached without any chlorine - or have not been bleached at all.  All of our cotton papers, for example, are TCF. Another common bleaching process in the paper industry is Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF), which is a bleaching agent that utilizes a pollution prevention technology to eliminate persistent, bioaccumulative toxic substances in mill waste-water.  The bleaching agent is a derivative of chlorine called chlorine dioxide, which is less harmful to the environment than elemental chlorine.  What this ensures is an environmentally safe method to bleach the paper without the harmful chemical effects of chlorine. For more information on Chlorine Free paper, please visit this informative website.

When it comes to environmentally-friendly, handmade papers lead the pack.  All our handmade papers are tree and chemical-free with every aspect of the paper-making process being done by hand. Compared to a conventional paper mill, the handmade paper manufacturing process uses much less energy per ton of the paper produced, thus significantly contributing much less towards pollution and global warming. In many cases, handmade papermaking uses solar energy for drying.

Many 'seals of approval' are being used to signify the compliance of various environmental standards developed by a number of non-profit organizations.  One version of certification that you see in the paper-making industry is ISO 14001.  This internationally recognized environmental management system (EMS) standard ensures compliance with environmental laws and regulations governing a wide variety of environmental activities. Individual countries also provide their own environmental certification, which we have noted where applicable.  As you can see below, the list of certified papers that Legion offers is extensive representing our continued efforts to supply you papers manufactured with minimal environmental impact.

Additional information on some of the certifications available can be found here and here .  

For more information on ISO 14001, please visit:

ISO 14001

Cotton, bamboo, cork, plant fibers, grass, flowers and even vegetables.  Tree-Free is the ultimate eco-friendly material found in many of our papers.  Some of our most prominent papers are 100% cotton.  From the renowned Stonehenge papers to the Entrada Rag digital paper, cotton is the key ingredient. In fact, the cotton used to manufacture our papers is not from the puffy white flower that we all recognize as cotton, but rather the linters, or byproduct, from the textile industry.  Textiles are made using the longest, highest-quality fibers - the rest is discarded.  This wasted cotton is salvaged and used to manufacture our cotton papers.  Nothing could be more eco-friendly than reusing a product that is considered waste - otherwise this would all end up in the trash.

More information on cotton & the environment can be found here:

Cotton Sustainability

More Resources

Here are two articles we've written (they appear in Stationery Trends magazine):

The Green Room: Alternative Fibers

The Green Room: Papermakers Doing Their Part

Ask Questions!

Disagree with anything in these articles? Let us know about it. Our philosophy in this area is evolving and if we've gotten something wrong we'd love to hear about it and share the information.