May 2, 2011

Printing Responsibly – Choosing the Right Paper for the Job

The Choices Team

To the untrained eye, there may not appear to be much difference between sheets of plain, white paper. But choosing the wrong kind of paper can have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line.

The American Paper Institute estimates that more than 40 percent of all bond and writing paper used in an office setting is wasted. Millions of sheets each day get discarded because of paper jams or malfunctions, often because decision-makers choose the wrong paper for the equipment they’re using.

Add up the cost of wasted paper, toner and ink ­– plus copier and printer repairs, downtime and lost productivity – and we’re talking thousands (if not millions) of dollars. You never thought a paper jam could be so expensive, did you?

There are many terms to consider when matching paper to your printing equipment – post-consumer, recycled content, brightness, basis weight, etc. Then there’s inkjet paper, laser paper, color output paper and literally hundreds of others. Does it make a difference? In a word, it does.

Today’s inkjet printers, for example, can print at a very high resolution. But in order to achieve such high-quality output, you must choose a high-resolution inkjet paper.

Thinking of trying to save money by using inkjet paper in a laser printer? Think again. Inkjet paper is not compatible with the high temperatures needed for laser printing, so you could damage your equipment while trying to save a few bucks.

Another consideration is ink. Be sure the ink you use on things like letterhead and envelopes is approved for the type of printer you’re using. Some inks will “melt” inside the printer unless specifically designed for high temperatures. These inks will then transfer to the remaining pages as they pass through the printer.

Please share your experiences (good, bad and ugly) with office printing, and help spread the word about printing responsibly.

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