The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 3, Number 3
Aug 1990


Canadian Parliament To Use Alkaline Paper For All Printing

It was announced at the Canadian Library Association meeting June 13-17 that "Alkaline permanent paperstock will be used for printing all of Parliament's publications, The decision was made jointly by the speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate. The press release says, in part:

The decision by Parliament to switch to alkaline paper is consistent with its overall conservation goal to encourage the efficient use of Canada's limited natural resources. Alkaline paper carries the following environmental advantages. It is recyclable and biodegradable.

The alkaline paper process reduces freshwater consumption and facilitates waste treatment. Compared to acidic papermaking process, alkaline paper is cleaner and saves energy, particularly in the drying cycle.

The Library of Parliament is proud to have been part of the alkaline solution to the "slow fires" problem of acidic papers. This solution would not have been possible without the assistance of the National Library of Canada, officials from the Senate, the House of Commons, Canadian Government Publishing Centre and the Canadian Government Printing Services. An exhibition on brittle paper and the alkaline paper is presently on display in the Hall of Honour at the entrance to the Library of Parliament.

This story was also carried in Vol. 1 #1 of Greening the Hill, the House of Commons Environmental Newsletter, May-June 1990.

An Informal Survey Of Lightweight Opaque Offset

Everett Harriman was able to test the papers used in the annual meeting announcements and proxy documents sent out by 42 publicly traded companies, to see how many were printed on alkaline paper. (These are almost always printed on the paper grade known as "lightweight opaque offset.") The results were: 18 alkaline (43%) and 24 acid sized (57%). He says this grade is being converted to alkaline fairly rapidly, so it would be interesting to see comparable figures for 1991.

All five of the paper companies among those 42 companies printed their proxies on alkaline paper, except Scott Paper Co.

Mr. Harriman is vice president of Falmouth Associates, a research ad consulting firm in Falmouth, Maine.

Acid-Free Medical Journals Increase In Number

The National Library of Medicine has a Permanent Paper Task Force that has been working to persuade medical publishers to print their journals an alkaline paper. Charles Kalina, Special Projects Officer there, recently sent in a report of the Task Force's activities, which says, in part:

Following a mass mailing campaign aimed at domestic and major international publishers in the summer of 1989, an NLM survey shows that a third (33%) of the non-third-world periodicals that NLM indexes for the Index Medicus and MEDLINE are now printed on acid-free paper, and a little more than a quarter (26%) carry an identification of permanent paper use. Two years ago, only one percent of Index Medicus journals were known to contain notices indicating that they were printed on acid-free paper, and an additional 11 percent was printed on acid-free paper but not yet identified as such.

The Task Force does not seem to draw a clear distinction between alkaline and permanent paper, but nowadays, with all the standards in a state of flux, that may be an academic distinction. (Two or three years from now, when more standards have been revised or created, it may be more important to make that distinction.) The Task Force deserves credit for having apparently tripled the number of acid-free journals from the non-third-world countries, in only two years.

How To Tell The Felt Side From The Wire Side

The felt side of paper is the side that was up when it was being formed on the fourdrinier, and it has the most filler m the surface. The wire side is the side that was next to the wire, and it is mostly fiber. For certain uses, it is imprtant to have the wire side up, so as to minimize abrasion. A quick way to identify the wire side is to fold one edge or corner of the paper over and run a piece of silver or a certain kind of paper clip over it, so as to leave a mark on both surfaces. The darker part of the mark will be an the felt side, where the filler is. Since unalloyed silver is not the handiest thing to find when you want to do this, most people will find the paper clip preferable. Not all paper clips are made of a metal that will leave a mark, not even all paper clips sold by a given manufacturer, so the right kind has to be found by trial and error.

Institute Of Paper Science & Technology Is Alive & Well

The Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC), now known as the Institute of Paper Science & Technology (IPST), moved last year into a refurbished warehouse on the Georgia Institute of Technology's Atlanta campus and was soon offering virtually the entire range of research and education services that it had offered in Appleton, before its move to Atlanta. Under the leadership of Richard A. Matula, its new president, cooperative agreements have been or will be reached with Georgia Tech and other research and educational organizations in the region. The Research Division, under Barry Crouse, coordinates the work of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Division and the Engineering and Paper Materials Division with its own; so inquiries should be directed there (404/853-9721).

The new building should be ready in the fourth quarter of 1991. The refurbished warehouse, which is only four blocks away, will continue to be used. It is called the Industrial Research Facility (IRF), and its address is 575 14th St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 (404/853-9500; Fax 404/8539510).

Annual reports were published from 1987 onward; visitors are encouraged; and the Institute plans to do a better job in the future of telling the paper industry what it is doing, through seminars, publication, and sending faculty members out to speak. Ph.D. work and research are continuing, including research on dioxin formation, nonchlorine bleaching and nonsulfur pulping processes. The new building will house the Dard Hunter Paper Museum and a conservation lab for paper-related artifacts,

Alkaline Recycled Copy Paper

The following companies make alkaline recycled copy (xerographic or laser) paper. The list is probably not exhaustive, and is bound to grow.

Paper is defined as recycled' by the EPA if it includes cotton fiber (because cotton linters is a byproduct), pulp substitute (trimmings from printing and other operations), and postconsumer waste. It does not include mill broke (paper recycled within the mill). This definition of "recycled" is oversimplified but perhaps it will serve.

Byron Weston

Ask about Weston Xerographic, which is 100% recycled and meets permanence standards.


Ask about Captain Xerographic (50% recycled) and Ecology Xerographic (100%)


Ask about Weyerhaeuser Recycled Laser Copy (50%., no postconsumer waste). Right now this is sometimes acid, sometimes alkaline, but when the Plymouth mill converts this fall, it will always be alkaline.

James River

Ask about Reclaim DP Xerographic Copy (50% and 10%).


Ask about Savings DP, which is 50% recycled, including 10%. postconsumer waste, and which meets permanence standards.

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