Reply To: 1980's-present office papers (are they all only 1% lignin?)


I would recommend that if the binders themselves are not historically important (i.e. specially made/ embossed/ numerous handwritten notes/ etc) that you remove the papers from them. Make a note that they were previously in one binder and store in the original binder order. If the binders had a simple label where the information was important (title, date, etc) but the physicality isn’t, you may want to photocopy it on archival paper. The plastic is most likely off-gassing, could have plasticizers in them, etc. Plus you have the possibility of ink transfer from paper to plastic, though less likely in a controlled stable environment.

As for  the paper itself , I think if it looks good now, you can simply put it in the acid-free folders and boxes. Just be wary of thermal paper, coated paper, etc. The Polyproylene method will get very expensive. When I was at the Ralph Rinzler archives at the Smithsonian, we simply placed basic paper items in folders. Thermopaper and other coated papers were often archivally xeroxed and then discarded (Disclaimer: I was an intern and we were doing initial preservation/description of a collection so it is possible some of them will be further protected)

As for the first question on the specifics of paper makeup, I do not know the answer, but it is probably important to remember that even if certain papers weren’t manufactured anymore, stockpiles still could have been sold or could have been in offices.