Printing on recycled paperWe have been using recycled paper for our website products since 2006 and have seen a few changes to the material in those 10 years. For many of our customers printing on recycled paper is what led them to us in the first place, but there is still an element that has a fear that printing on recycled paper is going to be inferior.  Allow me dispel that unfounded myth forthwith!

Recycled paper is grey. Well, not any more. The very first recycled papers did have a bit of a grey tinge to them, which some of our customers loved! These days the mainstream recycled papers are a standard white finish – so if you have areas of white in your design it will be a proper white and not grey. Obviously this is important consideration in most designs. But for the lovers of grey there are a couple of papers around with the grey tinge intact – although bizarrely they cost more than white recycled paper. 

Recycled Paper is expensive. There was a premium to pay for recycled paper in the good old days, but due to the big uptake in using this material, today it is that same price as a comparable non-recycled paper. 

Recycled Paper is difficult to source. When we launched our website in 2006 there was only one fully recycled paper available, and it was so new to the market with so little interest in it that we were chosen as the test site to ascertain how it would run on litho presses! Happy to say it ran brilliantly well and I would like to think that the small part we paid in testing and promoting it resulted in the comprehensive range of recycled paper and board now available.

Printing on Recycled Paper leads to the Dark Side!

Regular users of our website will know that we have always had a disclaimer on our site regarding litho printing on recycled paper, but it is actually a disclaimer for printing on any uncoated paper, which is that it can print ‘flatter’ than you might expect. We call this the ‘blotting paper’ effect. Let me explain why. When printing with wet inks and printing plates it essentially lays the ink down as tiny dots. As each dot hits the paper it spreads out a bit and is absorbed, like ink on blotting paper. As each of the four CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) inks are laid down the spreading dot on the paper can impinge on the other dots of coloured ink around it, making the image appear darker, or flatter. This is typical of printing on uncoated paper; when printing on coated paper or board the inks sits flatly on the material without any absorption leaving an image that is clean and crisp.

So how can you turn this to your advantage?

Printing on recycled paper

Firstly, do not be alarmed! Not every product printed on recycled paper will result with a flat, darker finish! This is a phenomenon that occurs generally when there is a lot of black in your design – more black equals a flatter result. But what it does do is print eco and organic images really well, with a softer tone that can really emphasise your product. Designing with a range of greens, browns, maroons and deeper colours will serve to create a fabulous piece of print, using the nature of the recycled paper to enhance the finished product.

For more information on eco-printing and eco-papers click through to our information pages.

Owner of A Local Printer with a love of eco-printing, cupcakes and rooting through the paper bins for exciting samples.