Just as new chlorine-free papers are introduced and new production methods are devised, technical terms within the industry change and evolve.
Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) – These papers are made from virgin fiber and have not been bleached with chlorine or any chlorine-based compound.
Processed Chlorine-Free (PCF) – Formerly listed as Secondarily Chlorine-Free, these papers contain up to 100% recycled content that has not been re-bleached with chlorine-containing compounds. Any virgin fiber in these papers is TCF. Since it is impossible to tell whether their recycled content has been bleached with chlorine in the past, PCF paper cannot be labeled as totally chlorine-free.
Be Aware: Papers sold as “elemental chlorine-free” (ECF) are not the same as “chlorine-free.” Products labeled as elemental chlorine-free were bleached with some form of chlorine or chlorine-based compound, producing dioxins.
The Environmental Paper Network has information about the best papers for the environment.
Dioxin, created by bleaching with chlorine compounds, has been connected to cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, diabetes and other critical health problems.
Using 100% post-consumer chlorine-free paper saves: a million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, a million Kilowatt hours of energy, a million gallons of water, and thousands of full-grown trees.