Using recycled paper and other office papers
As an environmentally conscientious company, Lexmark supports the use of recycled paper produced specifically for use in laser (electrophotographic) printers.
While no blanket statement can be made that all recycled paper will feed well, Lexmark consistently tests papers that represent recycled cut size copier papers available on the global market. This scientific testing is conducted with rigor and discipline. Many factors are taken into consideration both separately and as a whole, including the following:
- Amount of post-consumer waste (Lexmark tests up to 100% post-consumer waste content.)
- Temperature and humidity conditions (Testing chambers simulate climates from all over the world.)
- Moisture content (Business papers should have low moisture: 4–5%.)
- Bending resistance and proper stiffness means optimum feeding through the printer.
- Thickness (impacts how much can be loaded into a tray)
- Surface roughness (measured in Sheffield units, impacts print clarity and how well toner fuses to the paper)
- Surface friction (determines how easily sheets can be separated)
- Grain and formation (impacts curling, which also influences the mechanics of how the paper behaves as it moves through the printer)
- Brightness and texture (look and feel)
Recycled papers are better than ever; however, the amount of recycled content in a paper affects the degree of control over foreign matter. And while recycled papers are one good path to printing in an environmentally responsible manner, they are not perfect. The energy required to de-ink and deal with additives such as colorants and “glue” often generates more carbon emissions than does normal paper production. However, using recycled papers enables better resource management overall.
Lexmark concerns itself with the responsible use of paper in general based on life cycle assessments of its products. To gain a better understanding of the impact of printers on the environment, the company commissioned a number of life cycle assessments and found that paper was identified as the primary contributor (up to 80%) of carbon emissions caused throughout the entire life of a device (from design to end-of-life). This is due to the energy-intensive manufacturing processes required to make paper.
Thus, Lexmark seeks to educate customers and partners on minimizing the impact of paper. Using recycled paper is one way. Eliminating excessive and unnecessary paper consumption is another. Lexmark is well-equipped to help customers minimize printing and copying waste. In addition, the company encourages purchasing paper from suppliers who demonstrate their commitment to sustainable forestry practices.
Lexmark does not endorse specific suppliers, although a converter’s product list for special applications is maintained. However, the following paper choice guidelines will help alleviate the environmental impact of printing:
Minimize paper consumption.
Be selective about the origin of wood fiber. Buy from suppliers who carry certifications such as the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) or The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These certifications guarantee that the paper manufacturer uses wood pulp from forestry operators that employ environmentally and socially responsible forest management and restoration practices.
Choose the most appropriate paper for printing needs: normal 75 or 80
g/m2 certified paper, lower weight paper, or recycled paper.
Unacceptable paper examples
Test results indicate that the following paper types are at risk for use with laser printers:
- Chemically treated papers used to make copies without carbon paper, also known as carbonless papers
- Preprinted papers with chemicals that may contaminate the printer
- Preprinted papers that can be affected by the temperature in the printer fuser
- Preprinted papers that require a registration (the precise location on the page) greater than ± 2.3 mm (± 0.9
in.), such as optical character recognition (OCR) forms. In some cases, registration can be adjusted with a software application to successfully print on these forms.)
- Coated papers (erasable bond), synthetic papers, thermal papers
- Rough-edged, rough or heavily textured surface papers or curled papers
- Recycled papers that fail EN12281:2002 (European testing)
- Paper weighing less than 60
- Multiple part forms or documents
For more information about Lexmark, visit www.lexmark.com. General sustainability-related information can be found at the Environmental Sustainability link.