Five things you need to know about ‘FSC Recycled’

If FSC label means the product is sourced from responsibly managed forests, what does “FSC recycled” label represent?

Forests support up to 1.6 billion of the poorest people in the world. Sixty million indigenous people and countless species of plants and animals are wholly dependent on forests for their lives. But demand for forest products continues to grow and increasingly putting pressure on the world‘s forests.

Lesser known is that wood is a renewable resource when the forests are responsibly managed with holistic standards that include environmental and social considerations. That’s why FSC, as a voluntary forest certification scheme owner, is dedicated to promoting responsible forest management around the world. The FSC labels can differentiate and show consumers products that are sourced from responsibly managed forests in a crowded market place.

So what’s the difference between FSC Recycled label and other FSC labels?
And what makes it special?

The FSC Recycled label was introduced to recognize the important role that recycling paper and timber plays in protecting the world’s forests. Unlike general ‘recycled’ claims, which require no verification, the FSC Recycled label provides assurance that all the wood or paper in a product has been verified as genuinely recycled. Reclaimed materials can also be used in products carrying the FSC Mix label. However, only products containing 100% recycled material can carry the FSC Recycled label.

FSC labels

What does the FSC Recycled label mean?
Does that mean the products are originally sourced from FSC certified forests?

Wood products carrying the FSC Recycled label have been verified by a third party certification body as being made from at least 70% post-consumer reclaimed materials, i.e. wood and or wood fibre that has been reclaimed from a product after that product has been used for its intended purpose by individuals or businesses. The remaining material must be verified as pre-consumer waste. Paper products can contain any balance of pre-consumer and post-consumer reclaimed material as long as all applicable parts of the product are verified as reclaimed. The FSC Recycled label does not guarantee that the wood is originally come from FSC certified forests but rather focus on the recycle status and its authenticity.

Is it better to choose recycled or virgin products?

Recycling paper and wood products not only makes the best use of the yield of the tree (by extending the life span of its fibres), it also reduces the amount of waste going to landfill sites. The use of FSC Recycled paper and timber can help to alleviate the pressure of demand on sources of virgin material, thereby helping to protect the world’s forests.

However, there will always be a need for virgin timber and pulp, as demand for timber products remains high and the life span of recycled fibres for use in paper manufacture is limited. Therefore FSC recognizes the role both FSC virgin and recycled paper and timber products play in the protection of the world’s forests.

*This blog piece is edited based on an article originally posted by FSC UK