When to use recycled paper for your print needs

It’s Global Recycling Day, so we thought we’d take a closer look at one of the most recycled materials in the world – paper! According to Two Sides, the current recycling rate for paper in Europe is 74% and paper can be re-used an average of 3.8 times. These numbers are high and it’s a fantastic achievement that the infrastructure and desire exists to recycle so much paper.

Environmental performance
Most recycled paper is re-pulped and made into packaging like cardboard boxes but there’s a growing demand for high quality printer papers to replace traditional, virgin wood paper for general print items such as leaflets and newsletters. From an environmental perspective it makes perfect sense to use 100% recycled paper for your print needs. This is because significantly less water and energy is needed to produce recycled paper, meaning fewer resources are used and air pollution from the manufacturing process is lower too.

What about quality? I’ve heard it’s poor for recycled paper
There is a common misconception that the quality of recycled paper is low and you won’t achieve good print results. This isn’t the case. At Cerberus we frequently use recycled paper and get really great, high quality results. The natural and occasional imperfect qualities of recycled paper add to the character and definitely looks on trend from a visual perspective.

Choosing recycled paper for your print needs
Recycled paper isn’t going to be the right choice for every application. It’s not possible to achieve certain finishes and generally doesn’t perform quite as well on colour accuracy, so it may not be the right choice for graphic art and photography uses where colour reproduction is important – items like calendars and fine art prints.

As a general rule of thumb, we’d recommend considering recycled paper for ephemeral items such as leaflets, stickers, newsletters, tickets and programmes, as they’re less likely to be kept long-term.

It’s worth noting that a lot of paper does contain a combination of recycled and virgin wood pulp so, like many things in life, it can be about finding the right balance. It’s worth speaking to your printer to find out more about their papers; you’ll then be in the best position to make the right choice for your needs.

If you’re thinking about using recycled paper but you’re still not sure it’s the right choice for you, consider trying it out for a short-run print job like a few hundred leaflets or some sticker sheets. We think you’ll be surprised by the quality. If you need any advice on paper and making the right choice for your print needs, the team here at Cerberus is always happy to help.

Below is a list of printed items which we think suit recycled paper perfectly:

  • Leaflets, flyers and marketing material
  • Stickers
  • Programmes 
  • Tickets
  • Zines and newsletters
  • Packaging
Cerberus Printing

Cerberus is an independent print and design company based in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, initially created from a fascination and passion for the beauty of print.

We opened our doors 30 years ago, and have been delivering high quality print and graphic design services to our customers locally and nationally ever since. We offer a friendly, personal service, ensuring that your needs are met through a seamless process from start to finish.

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