Have you ever seen these terms on your scrap-booking supplies, and wondered what they meant? Well, here's the lowdown....
Acid is a substance that dissolves things - it eats them away. Acid is added to paper to make it easier to write on. Unfortunately, this same beneficial acid can eat away at your photos over time. In many older photo albums the photo itself has been eaten through and the picture even obliterated over time. In some older albums, the photo itself has protected the paper it was mounted on and not the other way around! If you want a photo to last into another generation, you should choose "acid free, lignin free, buffered" scrap-booking elements like the ones you can buy at Close To My Heart.
Lignin is a substance that occurs naturally in wood. Paper is made out of wood. Lignin makes paper stronger. It is a biodegradable substance though, so over time it breaks down, turns brittle and changes color to yellow and eventually brown. If you have ever kept a newspaper article for a couple of years, you know what I mean as it becomes very brittle and yellow. Newspaper is about 98% lignin free! I always scan my precious newspaper articles, and print them out on CTMH cardstock so I can add it to my scrap-booking pages. I also make sure my other scrap-booking elements are lignin free if I want my project to last through the years without becoming brittle and yellowed.
When paper is Buffered it means an alkaline substance has been added to it to reduce the effect of the acid content in it. So buffered paper will be safer for your memorabilia. However, some people say alkaline substances can also weaken paper. Certainly there seem to be fewer buffered paper products out there on sale for use in scrapbooks. You can find them though on my webpage at CTMH. More commonly you just find acid and lignin free products though.