A decade ago recycled paper did not fare well in the mainstream, particularly with laser printer users. The quality of paper fibers constituting recycled media obviously did not meet the standards of most users to thus merit its low patronage. For one, paper dust particles teeming in recycled paper consequently affected the quality of printouts.
A sizeable build up of paper dust over the feeders and rollers of printing equipment can cause malfunctions while the grainy and abrasive surface of recycled paper expedited the wear and tear of printer components. Moreover, recycled paper fibers absorb too much moisture, affecting toner adhesion to paper and causing paper to crease easily which is the precursor of paper jams
Well, these were all true when Ronald Reagan was still president. Since then, paper manufacturing technologies have improved a dozen times over and recycled paper – also known as post-consumer paper has now attained level status with virgin paper.
In fact in a few States such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, SC and Massachusetts among others; the Federal Government now puts more preference on the use of recycled paper over those produced with virgin paper components. This is in line with the government’s thrust to conserve our shrinking resources. Although trees used in making paper like Oak, Maple and Pine are renewable reserves, still it takes around 20 to 30 years to grow a replacement that is eligible for use as paper material. Cutting trees incessantly just to serve paper requirements swings the ecological balance to dangerous levels, thus prudence needs to be exercised and recycling used paper is seen as the most viable option.
In order for paper to be classified as post-consumer paper it must pass certain criteria that are related to a laser printer’s specification in terms of speed, fusing temperature, paper surface quality and texture. Set criteria are listed as follows:
- It has the highest post-consumer content.
- It does not contain chlorine or chlorine derivatives.
- Paper component does not include old growth timber content.
- Paper is produced in mills that comply with substantial environmental regulations.
- Recycled paper can be used sparingly on laser printers.
- Cost per ream of recycled paper is competitive or even lower than virgin paper.
An example of recycled paper that passed the mentioned criteria is the Badger Envirographic, a 100% post consumer paper.
Print quality is not only dependent on laser printer media. Certainly, a sufficient supply of toner powder contributes to the enviable performance of the laser printer. Always remember though that recycling begins with laser printer users; so that when an OEM toner cartridge runs out of toner, a compatible toner refill kit is within reach to resolve the issue.