Chlorine Free Paper Issues


Equipment Manufacturers

Major manufacturers of printers, copiers, and other office machines were interviewed separately about the performance of recycled paper in their equipment. Nearly all manufacturers found no reason why there should be any differences between the performance of recycled or virgin paper in their equipment. Manufacturer responses to specific survey questions follow. Some questions are repeated in a number of different ways to get at nuances in the responses.

LISTENING STUDY: We're hearing from many people that they're afraid to use recycled paper because it would void their copier warranty. Does your warranty say that?

"No. In fact, our official contract information says our machines produce satisfactory copies on recycled paper." - Copier Manufacturer A

"There is no voiding of the warranty for using recycled paper in our laserjet printers." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"No. Warranties are more performance-based. We can't tell the customer what type of paper to put in our machines; our only restrictions are based on size and weight." - Copier Manufacturer C

"If a product is approved for use, a standard warranty would apply. Our warranty policy is stated on our website, but doesn't mention specific papers." - Frank Stadler, Ocˇ-USA

"No, there is nothing specific in our warranty with reference to recycled paper." - Savin

"No, there is no language in our warranties mentioning recycled paper." - Copier Manufacturer G

"Our warranty does not specifically state that. Our operation manual states that we can support recycled paper as long as it is suitable for that copier." - Copier Manufacturer H

"Xerox warranty language does not prohibit the use of recycled paper in its copiers, printers or multifunction systems." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: If your warranty does not expressly prohibit the use of recycled papers, then where do you think this concern is coming from?

"I have heard of some people having trouble with recycled paper, but I think it depends on the grade of the paper. I am not aware of any problems with recycled copier paper." - Copier Manufacturer A

"No idea. These days, however, we get fewer requests for information on the use of recycled paper in our machines, and fewer bid specifications now require recycled paper. Cost is a big issue, but not the only issue contributing to this problem; it is still hard to overcome buyers' opinions based on past experience of runnability problems with recycled paper." - Savin

"To answer this question, you have to look at the history of recycled paper. Recycled paper has a history when it became fashionable, and the federal government required that machines accept recycled paper. Back 10 or 15 years ago, some of the paper on the market was pretty bad, in terms of copier performance: how it fed, how clean it was. Dust and lint will increase problems. Also, there were experiments with bonding materials. 'Inert' ingredients were problematic. The paper was bad, and machines were not designed for it. Probably, at that time, some companies said using recycled paper would void their warranties." - Copier Manufacturer H

"Xerox develops for each of its products (copiers, printers, multifunction systems) a 'recommended media list' - a list of papers and other media that Xerox has tested extensively to ensure optimal print quality and runnability in Xerox equipment. These lists include a wide range of papers, including recycled papers.
      If a customer reports a print quality or runnability problem with a paper that is not included on the recommended media list, a Xerox service technician responding to the customer will recommend that the customer try another batch number of the same paper or a different brand of paper. If a customer continues using the problem non-recommended material, Xerox might consider subsequent service calls related to the problem material to be outside of the customer's service contract (and the service calls would be an additional charge to the customer)." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: Is there anything in your warranty about recycled paper, whether forbidding it or accepting it?

"There may have been something early on in our warranties pertaining to recycled, but that is definitely not true today. The warranties do limit/prohibit remanufactured toner cartridges." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

Our operations manual states the following:
"Use of Recycled Paper in the Copier: As with all copiers and reproduction devices, the use of the appropriate paper ensures the best image quality of the copies and the machine's performance and reliability. Because of the extreme variances in composition and quality of paper from various manufacturers, consumers should ensure the recycled paper they use is suitable for the copier. In accordance with the EPA Energy Star Program guidelines, [Manufacturer H] recommends the following recycled papers for use in the copier:
Great White MultiUse 20 paper
Great White MultiUse 24 paper
If you have any questions regarding the use of recycled paper in your copier, contact your authorized service technician." - Copier Manufacturer H

LISTENING STUDY: What is your policy regarding use of recycled paper in your copiers?

"For inquiries on recycled paper, [Manufacturer A] has issued the following statement:
[Manufacturer A] Copying Equipment (except Color Laser Copiers) produces satisfactory copies on recycled paper that meets the Joint Committee on Printing Standard JCP 0-65." - Copier Manufacturer A

"We have no official policy regarding the use of recycled paper in our copiers by customers." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"Our machines accept and use recycled paper. It's in our specs, but that's an internal document only." - Copier Manufacturer C

"Our parent company is committed to using recycled products and recycled paper." - Savin

"Xerox designs all of its papers, regardless of their recycled content, for optimal performance in Xerox equipment. Xerox recycled papers must meet the same stringent performance and reliability standards (including strict specifications for dust, contamination, paper curl, static, and cut quality) as comparable virgin papers, and carry the same guarantees. The "recommended media lists" that Xerox develops for each of its products include a wide range of papers - both virgin and recycled." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: What is your experience with the use of recycled papers in your copiers?

"We don't have any problem with the use of recycled papers in our copiers." - Copier Manufacturer A

"We can't release our internal information on studies/tests on recycled and treefree papers. Virtually all the recycled papers out there are indiscernible from virgin: they're dust-free, acid-free, etc." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"Most of the problems we have encountered with higher postconsumer content papers relate to increased curl - the shorter fibers cause the paper to curl more frequently in the heat of the copier process." - Savin

"In copiers in general, not just ours, some recycled papers perform better than others. Factors like postconsumer content may not be the problem; it depends on how it's manufactured. Higher postconsumer content represents a greater challenge for the manufacturer (in terms of keeping the quality high)." - Copier Manufacturer G

"Our experience is similar to the general history of paper usage, including abrasions and dusting. The industry caught up quickly and we've been recommending recycled paper for at least 7 years, minimum. Recycled paper improved, and now feeds as well as virgin. You can take the top quality paper of many manufacturers and they'll pour equal amounts of dust in. A brand isn't assurance of quality. Papers from East coast mills have different fiber lengths because of their source of raw fiber. We do test and we can recommend specific papers. In the Japanese market, recycled paper is almost the whole market, and there are no issues with it." - Copier Manufacturer H

"Xerox tracks inquiries/complaints from owners of Xerox equipment having difficulty with paper and other media. Complaints about Xerox papers are tracked separately from those for competitive (i.e. non-Xerox) papers.
      With respect to Xerox papers, we do not see a disproportionately high level of customer dissatisfaction with recycled paper. Complaints about Xerox recycled paper account for less than 1% of all complaints about Xerox papers. By contrast, recycled paper does account for a somewhat disproportionately high percentage of complaints from customers running competitive papers in their equipment. Although we estimate recycled paper represents only 5% of total paper used in Xerox equipment, more than 10% of all complaints about competitive paper are attributable to recycled paper." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: Is there any problem with using recycled paper in your copiers? Specifically, is there a problem with dusting (which can impair the operation of optical sensors) generated by higher postconsumer content papers?

"Paper dust is the number one concern in affecting a machine's capability. Whether or not the paper dusts varies from paper to paper - it doesn't specifically relate to the fiber content." - Copier Manufacturer A

"I have no idea why people think recycled dusts more, although I do hear that complaint about recycled paper. I also hear complaints about multiple sheet pulls and jamming (probably due to multiple sheet pulls). People also have a misconception about recycled paper being only dull brown or gray." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"I have no experience of dusting caused by recycled papers. We've tested various papers internally, including recycled papers." - Copier Manufacturer C, marketing division

"Recycled paper does tend to dust more than virgin paper. I think it's the way it's recoated. It depends on the chemical content. I haven't noted a correlation of increased dusting with higher postconsumer content." - Copier Manufacturer C, quality assurance division

"Several years ago, I was in a group that tested the performance of recycled paper in our copiers. At the time, we were testing to look at the dusting issue. The recycled paper we tested then did generally have more dusting than virgin paper. However, this was several years ago; I think recycled content paper has improved a lot since then." - Frank Stadler, Ocˇ-USA Holding, Inc.

"Primarily, dusting is caused by inadequate vacuuming. Another reason papers dust more is that papers are now alkaline- rather than acid-based. An alkaline-based sheet requires less harmful chemicals, and is better for the environment, but an alkaline sheet accepts or absorbs more chalk and fillers in the papermaking process. That chalk residue sticks to the sheet after cutting, and is still on the sheet when it is fed into the copier, which contributes to a greater dusting factor. Dusting is more about alkaline vs. acid than about fiber content." - Savin

"Bad recycled paper can dust and misfeed - although this is true for bad virgin paper as well and isn't necessarily due to the recycled content. Lower quality postconsumer paper can cause more dusting, which results in the need for additional cleanings and service requirements." - Copier Manufacturer G

"We only know the ones we test. We test ones that have the broadest market share as a service to our customers." - Copier Manufacturer H

"The complaints that Xerox has received year-to-date for competitive (i.e. non-Xerox) recycled papers are linked to two problems. The most common issue is excessive contamination or dirt that negatively impacts image/print quality. A second issue is excessive paper curl that impacts runnability (i.e. causes paper jams).
      The problems of excessive curl and contamination are quality issues related to the paper manufacturing process. Recycled papers, just like virgin papers, vary from high- to low-quality in terms of print quality and runnability. Producing a quality paper requires papermakers to establish strict performance specifications and to control the variability of the papermaking process to meet these specifications consistently - regardless of the production run, or the paper machine or mill making the paper.
      Xerox has long recognized these potential quality issues with recycled paper. To address them, we've established for Xerox recycled papers the same stringent performance and reliability specifications that apply to their virgin counterparts. These specifications establish acceptable ranges for paper dust, curl, paper static, and cut quality to ensure optimum runnability." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: If you feel there's no problem with using recycled in your copiers, how do you respond to people who claim they DO have a problem running recycled in your copiers? What do you think is causing that problem?

"We refer people to our contract language, and let their dealers look into their situation." - Copier Manufacturer A

"I personally think some copiers just have a ghost in the machine. Internally, our people complained when we brought in recycled paper, but I haven't seen a single case in which problems could be substantiated as due to recycled. There is a negative attitude about environmental issues in general - stories in the mainstream media are more about doom and gloom than actual science. That's even true in this [geographical] area, which is one of the most educated areas about environmental issues. People aren't closing the loop. We have to be careful how we market our products." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"30% postconsumer is a much better paper than the previous paper specified by the government (50% recycled, 10% postconsumer). 30% is an acceptable level of postconsumer content - higher content is problematic. Paper sheets require long-grain fibers for structural stability, and there are too many short fibers in a sheet with greater than 30% postconsumer content, making that sheet less structurally strong. In packaging materials, higher postconsumer content is not problematic, but copiers are pickier in the kinds of paper they'll accept. The standardization of paper has helped, as has improved copier technology - today we have better paper products and better copiers." - Savin

"Recycled paper is also less stiff, so it presents more of a challenge when duplexing. There are different ways the manufacturer makes recycled paper stiff enough to perform. The chemical composition of a particular paper can be linked to increased dusting." - Copier Manufacturer G

"We distribute through authorized dealers, and problems are handled at that level. It's not too difficult. Problems are usually narrowed down to a specific paper, and aren't specifically due to the recycled content. For example, there was a batch of virgin paper from Brazil used in Florida where 1-inch pieces fell off. That was the most recent problem we faced associated with paper. Problems are often an environmental issue: low humidity and high humidity are common causes of problems." - Copier Manufacturer H

"We typically first recommend that the customer try another batch of the same paper. If the problem continues, we recommend another brand of paper that is on the list of recommended media we've developed for that particular Xerox product. Our approach to resolving issues with problem papers is the same for both virgin and recycled papers.
      We believe that low-quality recycled papers, just like low-quality virgin papers, cause runnability problems in copying and printing equipment. We also know that it is possible for recycled papers to achieve the same performance and reliability levels as comparable virgin papers." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: Do you train copier maintenance people to be positive towards use of recycled paper?

"We outsource our copier maintenance." - Copier Manufacturer A

"We outsource our copier maintenance." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"We outsource our copier maintenance." - Savin

"Service contracts are handled individually by each independent dealer; there is no training done by our company." - Copier Manufacturer C

"We sell our machines through dealerships, which are individually responsible for servicing the equipment." - Copier Manufacturer G

"We sell machines to dealers and they perform maintenance. Maintenance people point out papers recommended in the manual, and have a neutral bias toward recycled papers." - Copier Manufacturer H

"Xerox trains our service technicians to focus on customer satisfaction as their primary goal, and to work to maximize the 'uptime' of customers' Xerox equipment. To this end, service technicians promote the use of high-quality paper over low-quality paper (as opposed to promoting virgin paper over recycled paper).
      Our technicians follow the same approach to solving problems with defective papers regardless of whether the paper is virgin or recycled - the primary focus is making every effort to help customers use their paper of choice. If a customer reports a runnability problem with a competitive paper, a Xerox service technician recommends that the customer try another batch number or brand of paper. For example, if the problem paper contains recycled content, the service technician would recommend the customer try another brand of recycled paper (as opposed to recommending a switch to virgin paper).
      If a customer reports a print quality problem, a service technician evaluates a machine's set-up, the quality of the machine's imaging components, and the paper being used. In some cases, this evaluation shows that a low-quality competitive recycled paper is causing the image quality issue (high adhesive/plastic content in the paper builds up on the photoreceptor, producing spots on copies/prints). In these cases, the technician presents the results to the customer. It is the customer's decision to continue using the paper or not, recognizing the implications to print quality." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: Do you provide a brand-label recycled copier paper yourselves?

"No." - Savin

"No." - Copier Manufacturers A, G, H

"No." - Frank Stadler, Ocˇ-USA Holding, Inc.

"Yes. And I've finally gotten our Office Recycled Paper adopted by all our internal North American operations." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"No. Our distributors are independent; some sell paper, and some don't. Some might sell recycled paper, but I don't know for sure." - Copier Manufacturer C

"Yes. In the U.S., Xerox offers Multipurpose Recycled paper with 30% post-consumer waste, and several premium products, including colored and parchment papers, designed specifically for digital color printing applications. Our European division provides 100% recycled content paper." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

LISTENING STUDY: Can you tell us anything else to help us get a clearer picture of the use of recycled in your copiers? Have you done any tests or studies?

"We participated in the U.S. Conference of Mayors Study, but haven't done any studies since then. More images are being printed on printers these days than on copiers. People think there is recycled content in all paper, and they think there is recycled content in all equipment, as well. Because there are so many recovery programs in place, they assume it's magically happening." - Paul Quickert, Hewlett-Packard

"Our parent company, Ricoh, has done the studies. Our internal testing of the major recycled papers made by International Paper or Domtar (taking into account Domtar's recent acquisitions of Georgia Pacific, etc.) have proven them to be good products. Some of the other products made by other mills might not be as good." - Savin

"Xerox measures office equipment owners' satisfaction with corporate environmental initiatives and product environmental attributes on an annual basis. Between 1996 and 1999, our U.S. survey included the following question: 'Are you satisfied with the performance of your equipment when using recycled paper' [yes or no]? This question was asked to owners of Xerox and competitors' equipment.
      The proportion of office equipment owners indicating that they were satisfied with the performance of recycled paper increased by 17 percentage points over this time period, reaching 94% in 1999.
      Survey background: The Xerox survey is conducted blind (Xerox is not mentioned as the sponsor) and by telephone. The survey sample includes owners of office equipment (copiers, printers, fax and multifunction equipment) randomly selected from approximately 10 million establishments in the U.S. market. Respondents are asked to identify one specific brand and type of office equipment they own. All subsequent questions pertain to the one identified product.
      Findings are presented using percentages; the total number of office equipment owners answering the question is used as the percentage base (i.e., "don't know" answers are excluded from the percentage base). The sample size typically provides a 2-3% margin of error for results." - Elizabeth Graves, EH&S Regulatory Affairs Manager, Xerox

During the Fall and Winter of 1998, Canon U.S.A, Hewlett-Packard, and Lexmark evaluated three brands of 30% postconsumer multipurpose recycled content paper, using paper with 20%-25% postconsumer and virgin fiber content as controls. The U.S. federal Government Printing Office also tested over a dozen brands of 30% postconsumer copy paper. Altogether, over 2 million sheets were tested on various types and models of copiers, laser printers, and ink jet printers for physical properties and performance. Tests covered paper feeding, reliability, image quality, toner fixability, smoothness, and curl, among other things. The 30% postconsumer studies showed equivalent performance to 20%-25% postconsumer and virgin papers. - "No More Excuses," National Office Paper Recycling Project, United States Conference of Mayors

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