Recycled Paper Australia
Author: Heide Hackworth Date Posted:22 November 2023
Where can I get recycled copy paper?
In January 2023, the only white paper manufacturer in Austalia, Opal Australian Paper, located in Maryville Victoria, produced its last ever ream of copy paper, including including Reflex Recycled office paper.
Not only that, it stopped producing white office paper altogether.
But why is that? To answer that question, we have to go back in time to the history of paper making in Australia....
Australian Logging For Paper
Office paper can be made from either clean recycled paper from consumers or paper mill offcuts, or virgin fibre, which means using timber from forest logs.
For decades, the Victorian government were subsidising the cost of native forest logs through their state owned logging company VicForests, making native logs a cheap option for the paper industry to use for making virgin fibre.
But in 2019, the Victorian Andrews government made a decision to bring forward the transition out of native forest logging, from 2030 to January 2024.
Of course forest conservationists and campaigners were rightly celebrating this news, after long, and hard fought campaigns, some going back four decades.
VicForests has been involved in countless scandals, from serious breaches to environment laws, not surveying properly for endangered wildlife, even using public funds to spy on conservationists and scientists.
VicForests were also losing a lot of money. In 2022, VicForests reported a record annual loss of $54 million, which was subsidised by tax-payers.
The case for ending native forest logging in Victoria could not have been more clear.
And almost as soon as the end to native forest logging was announced by the Andrews government, Opal Australian Paper Maryvale, the only white paper mill in Australia closed down - declaring paper making unviable.
Opal Australian Paper would have been relying mostly on native forests for paper pulp, otherwise they'd still be making recycled paper at their Maryvale facility.
Is Australian made A4 office paper still available?
If you're looking for Australian made white A4 copy paper, the options are now quite limited.
There is still a few places you can purchase white office paper that was made by Maryvale however be quick as stocks are dwindling! Try BuyEcoGreen for what's left of Australian made recycled copy paper.
If you don't mind earthy looking and slightly textured paper for your office needs, Ecocern sell brown 100% post-consumer recycled office paper, which is one of the only office papers still made here in Australia.
Recycled copy paper available to buy in Australia
So what recycled white copy paper is available in Australia? Unfortunately the only copy paper available in Australia after current supplies run out is made overseas. Look out for environmental certifications to ensure the copy paper you buy does not contribute to deforestation and contains 100% post consumer recycled fibre.
Muru 100% recycled paper is a white, 100% recycled A3 and A4 Paper manufactured in in Indonesia by The Muru® Group, a Supply Nation certified business. This paper "supports Indigenous community initiatives whilst helping Corporate and Government buyers deliver on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets and commitments."
Is this A4 paper made in Australia?
COS® explain why their Muru® A4 copy paper is longer manufactured in Australia: "Due to a court order issued by VicForests in November 2022, a key third party wood supplier to Opal Australian Paper advised the organisation were no longer able to undertake timber harvesting in that area. Opal was unable to procure alternative sources of supply and their Maryvale Mill produced its last ream of copy paper on 21 January 2023. As a result copy paper will no longer be made in Australia. Opal Australian Paper continue as a business with a focus on packaging and related products."
"We did produce our recycled papers with Opal and we have found an alternative source for Muru 100% recycled paper which has just started arriving around the country. We are very excited about the new Muru including that it is now Carbon Neutral, and manufactured by a PEFC certified mill in Indonesia that was recently awarded the Enhanced Singapore Green Labelling Scheme for Pulp and Paper Products (Enhanced SGLS). The paper itself will be PEFC certified, made of 100% Post-Consumer Waste, Carbon Neutral and no longer has a plastic strap on the carton, removing thousands of straps from landfill."
What is the best paper for the environment?
A circular economy can only make sense if what we use can be recycled back into making new things, and paper is a great example of that. Overseas, paper mills have proven that paper-making can work well with 100% recycled input, using a lot less energy and water than making paper from virgin fibre.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that paper recycling uses 35% less water pollution and causes 74% less air pollution than making virgin paper.
Forests are important carbon sinks, helping to mitigate climate change and protect native animals. The Tree Projects explain that "If native forest logging ended in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, we could prevent 212 million tonnes from entering the atmosphere by 2050. That’s an equivalent emissions saving as converting 10% of Australian homes to solar power.
We need to take immediate action on climate change. Not only do we need to reduce emissions, we also need to draw down carbon from the atmosphere. Protecting forests is a low-cost, effective and immediate way of achieving this. "
To learn more about the history of paper making in Australia, visit Paper, Printing and the Environment here.