Xerox unveils lightweight, "green" digital paper

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Keeping both environmental concerns and rising postage costs in mind, Xerox Corp. has launched a new paper for digital printing that uses half as many trees as traditional paper and is lighter.

Paper "is a very big business" for Xerox and one that the company has been in since it launched its first copier, according to Maggie Ochs, manager of marketing and planning for Xerox paper and media products.

Marketers, however, have long been looking for a high-yield paper similar to what is available for offset printers that doesn't curl or produce dust because of the heat given off during digital printing.

With direct mail costs on the rise and the use of digital printing continuing to broaden, customer requests for such a paper began increasing almost two years ago, Ochs said. This was when Xerox began working on developing the Xerox High Yield Business Paper more rigorously.

It took 17 months for the Xerox Media and Compatibles Technology Center to develop the mechanical fiber paper. Xerox purports it performs like 50 pound text paper made by a chemical pulping process but with 10 percent more sheets per pound. The paper's lighter weight translates to $80 in savings in mailing costs for a printer who uses a carton of the new paper to print and mail 1,000 five-sheet sets of a document.

Combine this cost saving with the fact that the paper itself costs about 5 percent less than Xerox's general line of business paper for digital printers and direct mailers could generate a 10 percent cost savings, according to Ochs.

The paper also boasts opacity equal to that of traditional 60 pound text paper, meaning that images and text on side of a piece of paper are barely visible from the other side of the paper.

The paper can be used to produce manuals, catalogs, brochures and all key digital print jobs for commercial and in-plant printers. Xerox, Stamford, CT, believes print shops will use it to preprint offset shells for transactional documents like invoices, statements and direct mail pieces, then use a digital press to add highlight color or personalized information.

The paper is considered green because it is made from 90 percent of the tree versus the 45 percent that is used to create many digital printing papers. This is accomplished by mechanically grinding wood into papermaking pulp instead of using the chemical pulping process often used for producing digital business papers.

In addition, Xerox High Yield Business Paper requires less water and chemicals to produce and is made in a plant that uses hydroelectricity to partially power the pulping process.

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