The First National Bank of Chicago has announced that all the checks it provides to its retail banking customers will be printed on recycled paper.

Sticking Point

The bank, a unit of First Chicago Corp., estimates it eventually will distribute 60 million of the checks annually, saving more than 62 tons of paper a year, or roughly 400 trees, according to W.G. Jurgensen, head of the community banking group. Overall, some 55 billion checks are written annually.

Both the checks and the boxes they are shipped in will carry the familiar recycled products logo, Mr. Jurgensen said in a prepared statement. John H. Harland Co. will manufacture the checks.

The use of checks made with recycled paper has been a point of contention among bankers, paper manufacturers, and environmentalists.

Moving Ahead

Specifications recently developed by an American National Standards Institute subcommittee state that no current recycled paper products are durable enough to withstand check processing.

Nevertheless, several paper manufacturers, including Boise Cascade Corp., and check printers now offer recycled-paper products that they say meet check paper standards.

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