Friday, March 12, 2010

Green printing tip no. 37: What are the best paper calculators available online?

We are back today with a new tip on our weekly series of green printing tips, where we bring you information on green printing in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today Greg and I are presenting our recommendations on a great tool that any paper consumer should take a look at before making their next order of paper.

What are the best paper calculators available online?

Tip #37

Paper calculator is a very useful tool to help you quantify the benefits of using eco-friendly paper. There are some great online calculators that we would like to recommend on:

1. The EDF paper calculator
The Environmental Defense Fund's calculator is a very user-friendly calculator that "
shows the environmental impacts of different papers across their full lifecycle."

You choose the type of the paper, quantity per year and % of post-consumer and receive in return the impacts of your choice in terms of wood use, net energy, greenhouse gases, wastewater and solid waste. What I like about this calculator is that it gives you the option to compare between several papers, so this way you can compare for example the differences of using 30%PCW and 100%PCW.

The Paper Calculator is based on research done by the Paper Task Force, a peer-reviewed study of the lifecycle environmental impacts of paper production and disposal, and the underlying data are updated regularly.This calculator got many good reviews as you can read on the testimonials page. Here's one of them: "The Paper Calculator is an intelligent, flexible and comprehensive tool which has helped Dell identify and quantify significant internal environmental savings opportunities and assisted the company's green focus."- Tod Arbogast, Director, Dell Sustainable Business

2. ECO Paper Calculator of Neenah Paper
This is also a very good calculator that gives you the option to learn about the environmental of your choices. Only here it shows you how much you save by choosing a certain % of PCW.

As Neenah explains at the bottom of the calculator page, the environmental impact estimates for savings pertaining to the use of post consumer recycled fiber share the same common reference data as the Environmental Defense Fund paper calculator v2.0 (which is based on research done by the Paper Task Force).

What I like about this calculator is that they try to make the data more relevant for the user by translating the figures into examples we can all relate to. For example,using 30% PCW for 2 lbs of paper will save 6 gallons of water, which equals to an eight minute shower. Using 100%PCW for 10 lbs of paper will save you 4 lbs of solid waste, which equals to the amount of trash thrown away by one person in one day.

3. Mohawk Environmental Calculator
Mohawk Fine Paper also have a very good calculator. It's very user-friendly. You fill in information about the number of lbs (or kg) of paper you want to use, the postconsumer recycled percentage, coated or not coated, do you want it to be made with wind power or not, and do you want it to be made carbon neutral. Afterwords you click on 'calculate savings' and get the savings in terms of trees, water, wastewater, solid waste, greenhouse gases and energy. Mohawk's data is also based on the research done by the Paper Task Force.

Mohawk's calculator doesn't let you compare two types or more of alternatives in one calculation like the EDF and Neenah do. On the other hand, the presentation here is much more graphic, it's easy to bookmark or email calculations, and you can even download the calculator to your computer (it's only 1MB)!

You can find the calculator on the bottom right side of the homepage (third line in the blue part, just below to 'Merchant Login').

You're welcome to check all of these calculators and choose the one that is the best fit for your paper needs. In any case, we hope you'll make a good use of them.

For additional information on eco-friendly paper options, please call Greg Barber at (973) 224-1132, or email

Also, if you have any questions you would like us to address in future tips please email us to .

You can find links to all the tips we published so far on our green printing tips page, which is part of our green printing tools & resources.

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website -


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing!