Production and Paper Special Report: Cycling Through Your Options
Consumers have become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the companies from whom they buy, and the direct mail delivered to their doorstep is a conspicuous reminder of paper consumption.
Fortunately, finding a suitable paper that contains post-consumer waste is possible for just about every direct mail application. However, identifying a supplier that can provide product at the desired cost and composition requires knowing where to look.
Not Your Grandfather’s Recycled Paper
“Any [direct mail] product can be made with recycled fiber” without losing quality, according to Brian Cummins, the product and value chain manager for publications at paper manufacturer Stora Enso. Cummins says that even the highest quality papers can include up to 10 percent post-consumer waste without a visible difference.
Stora Enso—which supplies paper to multichannel marketers The Swiss Colony and Harry and David for use in their marketing materials—offers supercalendered, freesheet and offset papers with a standard composition of 10 percent recycled content. Cummins says coated papers have “no problem with the printability, as the coating determines the printability.”
Depending on the requirements of the direct mail project, customers can order papers with as much as 30 percent recycled content, Cummins says. For high-quality marketing pieces, the company sells recycled paper with brightness and opacity of greater than 90 percent in cover, glossy and reply card formats.
One consideration for marketers is the possibility that small black specks can appear in de-inked papers with a concentration of recycled content greater than 10 percent.
Most coated papers are limited to 30 percent post-consumer recycled materials, according to Darby Hoover of the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. Hoover, who consults with companies on how to implement recycled paper into their production processes, says companies that have not printed on recycled paper before should take a stepwise approach, starting with 10 percent post-consumer material and then moving up to 20 percent and 30 percent if the quality is acceptable. She also suggests doing trial runs before committing to an unfamiliar grade of paper.