Three Things to Know Before Stocking Up on Printer Paper

There’s more to it than the paper just being white and the right size.

Did you know that a ream of paper is 500 sheets and takes approximately six per cent of a tree to produce? Or that US office workers get through an estimated twenty reams each every single year? Here’s what to look for the next time you’re purchasing printer paper.

For School Projects

This is standard-sized for all sorts of assignments, USA-made and available in smaller volumes if you don’t have storage space. AmazonBasics

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You probably never thought to weigh your paper, but the thickness and opaqueness of paper is designated by a weight. Standard copy paper is usually around 20lb—which curiously relates to the fact that before it’s cut to the right size, 500 sheets of this type of paper weigh 20 pounds. So, confusingly, a 500-sheet ream of 20-pound paper actually weighs 5 pounds. Want swankier paper for invitations or official letters? Go for a heavier paper.

Pre-Punched Options

This is available in a huge range of sizes and volumes. Hammermill

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When we’re talking about white paper, it would be easy to think that, well, it’s just white. But actually, one of the numbers that you need to look for if you want perfect colour reproduction and a whiter than white background is the brightness. Measured on a scale from 0 to 100, the higher the number, the more light it reflects. The more light it reflects, the more defined your print will appear. For everyday use, a brightness of around 92 is pretty standard, but if you’re printing important documents and want to impress, you might want to head towards 96.

Vivid Reproduction

This premium product comes from sustainable sources and is acid-free to prevent yellowing over time. HP

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If you’re getting through a lot of paper and want to make sure that you’re not tearing down too many trees in the process, look out for paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This is a non-governmental organization that ensures that products made from trees come from well-managed sources (where trees are replanted to replace those that are being cut down) or are from recycled sources.