Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policies
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Chlorine-Free Paper
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What is Chlorine Free Paper?
Chlorine Free Paper comes in two types: Totaly Chlorine Free (TCF) and Processed Chlorine Free (PCF). Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) paper has not been exposed to any forms of chlorine during the bleaching stages. The source of the pulp is virgin timber. Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) paper, occasionally referred to as Secondarily Chlorine Free (SCF) paper, is made from recycled fiber that has not been rebleached with any chlorine based bleach. TCF and PCF papers have NOT been bleached with chlorine gas, chlorine dioxide or any other bleaching agent that contains a chlorine compound during their production. Oxygen, ozone and hydrogen peroxide are some bleaching alternatives to chlorine and chlorine based compounds. TCF and PCF should not be confused with the deceptively named Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF). Although the name suggests otherwise, ECF paper is bleached with chlorine compounds, still producing dioxin. It does not use chlorine in its elemental form (chlorine gas), hence the name Elemental Chlorine Free.

Why Buy Chlorine Free Paper?
White paper bleached with Chlorine and Chlorine Dioxide emits dioxin and other organochlorides into air and water. These toxins get into the food chain and accumulate in the fat cells of animals. Through consumption, dioxin moves up the food chain and reaches its highest concentration in the animals which are at the top of the food chain. Humans occupy one of these slots. Once in our bodies, dioxin helps cause "diabetes, endometriosis, immune system suppression, infertility and cancer"(Lois Marie Gibbs, Dying From Dioxin South End Press, Boston, 1995, p143). See our chlorine links for more information about dioxin.

Since government regulation has failed to prevent companies from using Chlorine Dioxide (ECF) [read a comparison between TCF and ECF processes] in the paper making process, [see EPA's Cluster Rules] the only way our government can persuade the pulp and paper industry to produce chlorine free paper is if federal, state and local government agencies vote with their dollars and decide to buy chlorine free paper.

Unfortunately, convincing any government agency to buy environmentally safe paper, that may cost more than regular paper, requires more than simply explaining the environmental benefits of Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) paper. Therefore, the burden of a toxic free environment falls on the shoulders of concerned citizens to petition their state or local, government to MANDATE THE PURCHASE OF CHLORINE FREE PAPER! How can YOU help? Easy.

  • If you are interested in buying chlorine-free and recycled paper for your organization at a reduced price, join our DC area buying club! Contact: Joyce Schelling (207) 262-5585: See the latest DC Chlorine Free Buying Club Update.

  • Learn what your State's Procurement Policies on chlorine free paper are.
  • If you are serious about chlorine free paper, there are many brands of TCF or PCF Papers to choose from. Here's a list of suppliers. So pick one and buy it!
  • Use this sample letter to petition your local or state government to use chlorine free paper.
  • Learn more about chlorine and environmental and health effects with our chlorine links page.

The Government Purchasing Project is a project of the Center for Responsive Law.