is thin paper right for you?

More than ever, businesses have to manage the challenges of a bottom-line focus, a positive brand presentation, and the needs of sustainable environmental business practices.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to consider the paper your company uses in its printed materials.

Many companies believe that by the selection of paper that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified to come from sustainable forests, and that includes recycled content, they are doing the best they can.

Certainly these are valuable steps. The truth is that real savings - environmental and economic - come from reducing the amount of paper used. And that means evaluating whether the weights of papers you’re using are optimized. 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 papers recently, you’ll be impressed with how they may meet your needs.

We hope this short guide helps you in considering which papers are right for your printed efforts.

Step 1: the purpose of the printed piece

Every printed piece has a purpose. And thinking about that purpose can help define the paper you use. How long is the piece intended to last? What will be printed on the pages? What impression do you intend for the piece to have about your business? As you consider the piece to be printed, as you begin its design, as you think about its role, the appropriate ranges of paper to consider will become more focused.

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Step 2: the weight of the paper

Many printed pieces are actually over-specified in paper weight, sometimes just out of habit – “That’s what we’ve always used.” By lowering the basis weight of the paper used even a small amount, economic, postal and environmental savings add up. Today’s thin, lightweight papers can provide you with a number of strong choices to meet many needs, with quality reproduction, high opacity, and easy run-ability.

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Step 3: the finish of the paper

Coated papers have traditionally been used for brilliant reproduction, while uncoated sheets enhanced the overall feeling of the message. However, with advancements in prepress and printing technology, now color images can look as bright on an uncoated sheet as coated. This has opened up any number of alternatives; samples from your paper provider can help you decide which is most appropriate for your needs. Including both coated and uncoated thin, lightweight opaque papers.

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Step 4: the whiteness of the paper

Whiteness is the ability of the paper to reflect all colors of light equally, so that reproduction is as close to true as possible. And white sheets also often reflect more positively on a brand’s reputation. Thin, lightweight, and recycled papers now offer high degrees of whiteness, so you can consider them when specifying even the most demanding reproduction.

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Step 5: the runnability of the paper

Printing on paper is a rigorous process. The last thing anyone wants is paper that holds up that process. That “If it’s not broken…” view may be one reason for the habit of using the same paper, whether that paper is really right, environmentally or economically yet printing with paper that’s heavier than needed is “broken.”

Today’s thin, lightweight papers are engineered to work as well across many applications as heavier weights of paper. Thin papers run well on press, they hold ink well, they provide for superior reproduction, and they’re as bright and white as heavier papers. That’s why more and more users of printed pieces are losing weight in their paper.

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Step 6: the environmental impact of the paper

The environmental impact of paper is not just about using paper made from sustainable forests or paper made with recycled content. Both are important. But equally important is how much paper you use.

The reality of paper production is this: when you use lighter weight paper, you use fewer resources - from trees to energy - in paper manufacturing, processing and distribution. Thin, lightweight papers, by their nature, are more environmentally responsible than heavier papers.

Bolloré Thin Papers are not only light in weight, but are created using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), where the environmental impact of the paper, from tree to paper disposal, is considered. This LCA - a view of the total impact of the production, use and disposal of the paper - is the new standard by which the impact of paper is considered.

To meet your firm’s environmental goals, you must consider thinner, more lightweight paper: with a Life Cycle Assessment to demonstrate its environmental value.

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Step 7: the piece size and sheet layout

The size of every piece should be considered with a sheet size in mind; sometimes even small changes in the size of a final piece can have a large impact on the efficient use of a sheet of paper. Efficiently using a sheet of paper means less wasted paper, better overall economics and a lessened environmental impact.

Some try to manage costs by reducing the surface area of the printed pieces - smaller and fewer pages. But this also reduces the area in which you have to communicate. With thin, lightweight paper, you can use less paper for the same surface area. More room to communicate with less of an environmental and economic impact.

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Step 8: distribution

Shipping and mailing printed pieces has become a significant cost for almost every organization. The weight of printed pieces can add up quickly in terms of shipping costs, both for the paper to the printer and for the final pieces to distribution. And mailing costs, often measured by weight, continue to rise. You may be surprised at the savings in shipping and mailing when producing the exact same pieces with thin, lightweight paper.

In all, when you step back to review your printed pieces, you will likely find that you can take advantage of the positive economic and environmental impact that today’s thinner, lightweight papers can have. Your Bolloré Thin Papers specialist can help show you how.

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