The skinny on paper

Paper classification is a little arcane, we admit. Specifying the right paper for your project might require some careful planning, so don't hesitate to contact customer service for help. Some basic concepts are outlined here.

Weighty Issues
20 pound text is about the lightest for printing, fine for many projects. The 60 pound text weights are a good choice for two-sided brochures and newsletters. They are ordinarily used for the insides of booklets, books and newsletters. The 70 and 80 pound texts are more substantial than the 60 pound texts. 50 pound offset is a cheaper option, but its light weight also allows the type to "show through" to the other side.

Cover weight papers include the cover stocks, the index stocks and the bristols. These are good choices for the covers of booklets and books, postcards, self-mailers, and sometimes for brochures and posters. Because these papers weigh more, they also cost more.

Coated vs Uncoated
Within each weight family, there are coated and uncoated varieties. The coated stocks have either a glossy or dull finish, and many of them are available in white only. Uncoated stocks come in many varieties and colors. Coated stocks are especially good for bringing out the best in photos and full color printing. Often cover stocks called C1S (coated one side) are used for book covers and postcards. The choice of coated versus uncoated is often a matter of preference, though they each have their optimal uses. Both coated and uncoated papers are available with recycled content.

The Scoop on Recycled Paper
It takes 17 trees to make one ton of paper. Producing paper with waste paper pulp instead of virgin pulp saves not only trees, but benefits the environment by requiring less energy in the manufacturing process. In addition, recycled paper production produces less air pollution, less water pollution and consumes less water than producing paper from virgin pulp. Using waste paper pulp also helps diminish the solid waste problem: half of the waste collected annually in the U.S. is paper. The Paper Calculator can be used to evaluate the comparative effects of using paper stocks with recycled content vs. those without.

"Pre-consumer" vs. "Post-consumer"
Pre-consumer waste is paper that has never made it into the hands of the consumer. It includes the by-products of paper making, cuttings, bindery trimmings, rejected stock and leftover roll ends. The procedure of recovering pre-consumer waste and re-pulping these by-products to create new paper makes good business and environmental sense.

"Post-consumer waste" refers to used paper that has gone through its life cycle and has been collected through recycling efforts (the paper you place in your blue bins!) By requesting paper with a high percentage of "post-consumer waste" you are encouraging the paper companies to invest in recycling technologies.

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