thin paper faqs

Why is thin paper better for the environment?

The less paper used for a printed surface area, the less the impact on the environment. Printing on thin paper uses less paper. Along with less of about every other resource that is part of paper making, shipping, and disposal.

For example, substituting a Bolloré Thin Paper 40 lbs basis weight sheet for a 45 lbs sheet - an almost imperceptible difference - reduces the number of trees used, the amount of energy and water used, and the solid waste and greenhouse gases created by 7 to 10%.

What kinds of thin paper exist?

Thin paper is high-quality, free-sheet paper ranging in basis weight from 15 to 40 lbs. It is much more durable and resistant to aging than the thin mechanical pulp, or groundwood paper often used for newspapers or telephone books. The clean white surface and high opacity of thin paper make it ideal for high-quality reproduction. And its reduced basis weight results in far less impact on the environment than heavier papers.

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What is the difference between thin paper and lightweight paper?

Thin paper is sometimes called “lightweight opaque paper,” a longer but perhaps more descriptive term. Thin paper is lighter in weight for the amount of surface area than heavier, standard papers. And it is opaque, providing the superior reproduction and appearance characteristics that define one of its benefits.

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Does thin paper also include recycled paper fiber?

Papers such as Primagreen from Bolloré Thin Papers are designed to include a high percentage of recycled, or post-consumer fiber, content - up to 50%. Even without recycled content, Bolloré Thin Papers, by their design, use less pulp and fewer resources than standard heavier paper.

Remember though, that paper cannot be recycled indefinitely (from 7 to 10 times at most) before it loses it printability. So the regular supplement of virgin paper fibers is required for any paper that uses recycled fibers as part of its content.

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Does thin paper meet the reproduction qualities of heavier papers?

In almost every example, the quality of reproduction on thin papers is virtually undifferentiated from heavier counterparts. Opacity is high, strike-through and bleed-through are low, the papers are bright and white, inks are reflective, four-color and black & white printing are outstanding, and run-ability is comparable. And, with Bolloré Thin Papers, the paper has a consistent, quality feel. The real difference is that less paper is used.

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Won’t thin papers have a lot of bleed-through or strike-through?

Bolloré Thin Papers are engineered and manufactured to be highly opaque, meaning that the bleed-through of even rich images and the strike-through of even bold fonts are minimized. If you hold a sample of Bolloré Thin Paper up to a light, you’ll see that, unlike other thin papers, there is a high degree of consistency in the paper fibers across the entire surface. So reproduction is consistent on every square inch and every sheet.

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Is thin paper more expensive?

Making quality thin paper is an exacting process that Bolloré Thin Papers has perfected; it takes skill, know-how and precision to produce thin paper that matches the reproduction characteristics of heavier papers. But the thinner the paper, the fewer the trees, wood pulp, and resources used to produce it. So the expense of our exacting production process is often offset by the reduced cost of materials. And that’s before you even consider savings in shipping, storage, distribution, or postage. That makes Bolloré Thin Papers a win-win: a superior paper providing the potential of financial and environmental savings.

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What are the best uses of thin paper?

Thin paper is ideal where the printed piece needs to be of high quality but would benefit from reduced weight and/or volume; they provide a larger printed surface area for the amount of paper used than standard heavier papers. So any piece of printed material can benefit from the advantages of Bolloré Thin Papers. In addition, for some applications, the use of thin paper can provide distinct and specific advantages.

  • For large catalogs, reference books, bibles and books: Bolloré Thin Papers allows these pieces to have more pages without being heavier or thicker than they would be with a heavier stock.
  • Product manuals, travel timetables, scientific and legal documents and other printed pieces the need quality reproduction but whose use just doesn’t warrant a heavier weight paper.
  • Catalogs and mailing inserts, where postal costs can be reduced through a reduction in paper weight.
  • Pharmaceutical, cosmetics and product inserts where a large volume of information needs to be presented in a document that is folded to fit into a small container.

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Why don’t more businesses use thin papers?

As bottom lines are scrutinized and environmental stances are considered, thin papers just plain make good business sense. That’s why more and more companies and organizations are recognizing the benefits of thin paper and making the move. Because today’s thin papers also provide excellent reproduction characteristics with superior run-ability, from marketing to financial to production, every aspect of business is beginning to recognize that thin papers are an alternative that need to be considered.

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Is printing more complicated using thin papers?

Bolloré Thin Papers are made for ease of use on press. Their consistency means high run-ability and as much up time as their heavier weight counterparts. And their superior surfaces mean that the end result of using Bolloré Thin Paper is a piece meeting exacting quality standards.

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Are all thin papers created equal?

In addition to making the lightest weight thin paper in the world - Indopaque is available as light as 15 lbs basis weight - only Bolloré Thin Papers are made with the benefit of a full Life Cycle Assessment. So beyond being the first thin paper manufacturer to receive Ecolabel certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and being certified by ISO, Bolloré Thin Papers have been subjected to the rigors the most thorough environmental analysis in the industry, reviewing:

  • Production and transportation of the pulp
  • Production and transportation of other raw materials
  • Paper manufacture
  • Transportation to the printer
  • Printing
  • Transportation to the user
  • End of the paper’s lifecycle (storage, incineration, disposal at a refuse tip, recycling)

All of these factors are considered in how Bolloré Thin Papers sources materials, manufactures and ships paper, and deals with end waste. The result is superior paper that meets the most exacting environmental requirements our customers could apply.

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How should I get started in reviewing whether thin papers are right for my business?

The less paper you use for a printed surface area, the more environmentally and economically responsible your decision. If you haven’t looked into thinner, lightweight opaque papers recently, you’ll be impressed with how they may meet your needs. To help you in thinking about how Bolloré Thin Papers might be right for your business, we’ve created a simple guide.

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How do I choose paper that has a low environmental impact?

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when considering paper from an environmental standpoint:

  • Make sure that the forests that the paper comes from are sustainably managed by looking for FSC® or PEFC® labels
  • Consider paper that has a strong percentage of post-consumer - or recycled - fibers, which uses less water and energy to produce
  • Review the environmental performance of the production process used in making the paper by looking for ISO 14 001 certification or indications of a strong Environmental Management System applied by the manufacturer
  • Determine whether the paper’s impact on the environment is being managed by a complete Life Cycle Assessment, wherein the environmental impact of the paper is from the harvesting of timber through disposal of the final printed piece
  • Choose a thinner, lighter basis weight paper whenever possible. Bolloré Thin Papers makes it possible to offer more information for an equivalent volume on sheet that reproduces and runs well. And inherently uses fewer resources in the process.

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Beyond the environmental advantages of thin paper, what does Bolloré Thin Papers do to protect the environment in the paper making process?

Thin paper is inherently better for the environment. But our goal is to make thin paper in the most environmentally appropriate way in order to conserve more of the resources of our planet.

For example, Bolloré Thin Papers invested ten million dollars at our facilities near Lake Geneva in the construction of a waste water treatment plant which uses cutting-edge technology. Here, a process called wet oxidation is used to reduce waste in the water and also recycle the solid waste. The result is that waste levels are lower 50% than the regulated threshold levels.

We operate an effective waste recovery policy. So instead of burning lignin (one of the main components of wood along with cellulose) and emitting CO2, we transform it into substances which can be reused both in industry and for energy production. The result is that 98% of our waste is re-used by industries such as cement works, brickworks, and others.

We have recovered the emissions from the Household Waste Incineration Unit of the town of Thonon-les-Bains and introduced those into our circuits allowing us to significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels.

For the 5th consecutive year, the emissions measured at the Papeteries du Léman facility are 70% less than legally mandated thresholds, thanks to the installation of OVH (biochemical oxidation technology).

Through changes in our production methods, we achieved a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and electrical consumption in 2009, and a cumulative reduction of 30% since 2005, equivalent to 8,523 tons of CO2 emissions avoided per annum.

We broke ground for the building of satellite facilities to produce Precipitated Calcium Carbonate at the Papeteries du Léman facility, to be operational in Spring 2010. Calcium Carbonate is an abundant resources that we have adapted for use in coating paper and replaces the less environmental sustainable Titanium Oxide still used by many others.

Although we do not manufacture pulp, we believe it is our responsibility to carefully monitor its origin and our suppliers’ processes (in terms of forest, resources, and energy management). In recognition of our efforts, Bolloré Thin Papers was the first thin paper manufacturer to receive Ecolabel certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

We’re proud that the papers we make are smart for the environment. We’re even prouder that the way we make our papers make them the smartest choice among thin papers.

Click here to see a chart that demonstrates the before and after benefits of our LCA approach.

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