Paper or Plastic?

In the last several years you no longer hear the question at grocery stores, “Paper Or Plastic?”  Households are over-flowing with extra bags and our highways and streets are littered with them.  Although the plastic bags are easier, and probably cheaper, it is not the best for our environment.  Our society gets so caught up in “Saving a Tree” that we lose sight of the environmental impacts of the alternatives.  Here are some facts that may change your viewpoint on this subject:

  • The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.
  • Every year Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • During 2009’s International Coastal Cleanup, the Ocean Conservancy found that plastic bags were the second-most common kind of waste found, at one out of ten items picked up.
  • The state of California spends about $25 million sending plastic bags to landfill each year, and another $8.5 million

to remove littered bags from streets.

  • Less than 1% of plastic bags are recycled each year. Recycling one ton of plastic bags costs $4,000. The recycled product can be sold for $32.
  • In 2009 63.4% 63.4 percent of paper was recycled; an all-time high according to the American Forest & Paper Association and it was the first year the rate was over 60%.

Although plastic seems like an acceptable alternative to paper, the problem is that it doesn’t biodegrade and it’s harmful to the environment. Over time, light breaks plastic down into smaller and smaller particles that contaminate the soil and water.  To resolve this issue, going to a paper based alternative is the best choice.  But, if you have to use plastic what should you do?  The best option is to recycle.  Recycling plastic is costly; however, it is still better than sending it to a landfill.  From an economic standpoint, it has been estimated that recycling, re-use and composting creates six to ten times as many jobs as waste incineration and landfills.  The recycling rate of 32.5% in 2006 saved the carbon emission equivalent of taking 39.4 million cars off the road.

What about electronics?  Besides the plastic that goes into making these items, there is another story about the impact they make on our environment.

  • Of the 2.25 million tons of electronics (TVs, cell phones, computers, etc) retired in 2007, 82% were discarded mostly in landfills.
  • About 40 million computers became obsolete in 2007, which is about twice as many as in 1998.
  • If we recycled all of the cell phones retired each year we would save enough energy to power 18,500 homes for an entire year.
  • In 2005, 61% of CRT monitors and televisions collected for recycling were sent abroad for remanufacture, refurbishment or for glass-to-glass processing.
  • Recycling one million cell phones allows 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium to be recovered.

Electronics are a “must have’’ in our society today, but educating ourselves about the environmental impact will put the use of them into perspective.

The take-away message from this is simple – recycle and reuse.  Whatever products you decide to use, it is always best to divert them from the landfill.  Take the extra time to recycle these materials, every bit helps and it will impact the generations to come.

Copy Paper Confusion

Ever wonder why there are so many different brands of copy paper?  With the different manufacturers and the thousands of re-distributors around the country it can sometimes get confusing.  The fact is that most domestic copy paper is made by one of three companies; International Paper, Domtar and Boise-Cascade.  There have been several smaller companies domestically and abroad that have products to compete with them but have not established their brand or quality levels.  Regardless, copy paper has a few characteristics that distinguishes it from others:


Most copy papers are 92 brightness (on a scale 0% to 100%).  This does not determine the quality of the paper, however, only how white and bright it looks.  It’s common to think of brighter paper as better quality but it really has nothing to do with the quality.  There are also higher brightness options available, typically 98 brightness.  Going to a higher brightness does add cost to the manufacturing process because the mill is adding optical brighteners, but does not improve the runnability of the paper.


There are different shades of white, typically blue-white and yellow-white.  The shade of the paper will make it appear optically brighter, depending on the type of light you have in your office.


Typical copy paper is not very smooth and is not manufactured to have high ink holdout or toner adhesion qualities.  It’s best to use copy paper when making copies or printing something in black and white.  Color copies require a smoother surface so the ink or toner doesn’t soak into the sheet blurring the image.  When requiring a high quality image in color it’s best to go to a “Color Copy” paper or something that is much smoother than copy paper.

Recycled Content:

Most copy paper does not have any recycled content.  There are some brands that have another version with recycled content, typically 30% post-consumer waste.  It’s the same paper as the non-recycled version but it may be less bright because the post-consumer waste will “deaden” the brightness level, all other characteristics of the sheet will be the same.

Curl control:

Laser printers require a sheet of paper that withstands high heat in order to melt the toner to the paper.  When heat is applied then moisture within the sheet of paper will cause it to curl.  Copy paper that works in laser applications is manufactured to a lower moisture content in order to withstand the heat.  Make sure the paper you use is guaranteed to perform in a laser application, otherwise it will come out very curly after the printing is done.


Special additives on the surface of the paper prevent black inks from penetrating too deeply into the sheet. And just as ColorLok papers keep black inks near the surface, it also prevents color inks from being absorbed too deeply, making them appear uniform, vivid and vibrant.  The ColorLok feature is something that is offered in the higher quality copy papers and is a good substitute for “Color Copy” papers.


Paper mills will use the same sheet specifications for a variety of brands, depending on the channel they are selling it to.  Some of these brands have the manufacturer name and others are branded for a specific customer or industry.  Don’t be fooled by the brand, it’s the characteristics of the paper that should help you make your decision.

This gives you an overall summary of the different characteristics that are built into copy paper.  Here are the 3 copy paper brands that Lewis Paper stocks and the primary differences for each:

Multi-Use – 92 brightness

MultiQue – 92 brightness, includes ColorLok

Imageprint – 98 brightness, includes ColorLok, Smoother surface

How Does Carbonless Paper Work?

Do you remember the days before carbonless paper; taking the time to carefully place a piece of carbon paper in between two pages and press firmly when you wrote? Those days are gone thanks to the introduction of carbonless paper.

Businesses still find carbonless paper a necessary way to keep track of, collect, and obtain information. Carbonless papers are commonly used for invoices, receipts, legal forms, purchase orders, employment applications, medical forms, contacts, insurance forms, delivery forms, and proposals.

There are a variety of colors available such as white/yellow/pink/green/blue, in most instances white is the top copy and subsequent colors are beneath dependending on the number of duplicated pages required. For example, if you require two copies of a document being printed, you would have a white top part and 1 colored second part below, this is called two Part or Duplicate. For three copies, you would have a white top part and two colored parts below, this is called 3 Part or Triplicate.

Carbonless copy paper works in a fairly simple way. It consists of sheets of paper that are coated with micro-encapsulated dye or ink and reactive clay.

The back of the first sheet is coated with micro-encapsulated dye. The lowermost sheet is coated on the top surface with a clay that quickly reacts with the dye to form a permanent mark. Any intermediate sheets are coated with clay on top and dye on the bottom.

When someone writes on the sheets, the pressure from the point of the writing instrument causes the micro-capsules to break and spill their dye. Since the capsules are so small, the print  is very accurate. And that is how Carbonless works; very simple and easy without the mess and fuss.

Take a look at how this works – 

The entire month of September, we are featuring Nekoosa Coated Products’ Universal Carbonless Paper, along with $10 Nekoosa Bucks on the following cartons:


8 ½ x 11   3 PART REVERSE

8 ½ x 11   3 PART STRAIGHT

8 ½ x 11   4 PART REVERSE


11 x 17     3 PART REVERSE


Visit and click on Weekly Specials to get more details and learn how to win an iPad mini!


Going Green with Paper

In this day and age businesses are growing more and more concerned about going green. But what does that mean – carpooling, buying energy efficient appliances, recycling, and investing in solar power? Actually a majority of businesses launch their green efforts by starting with paper.

So many businesses and individuals have declared that they are going paperless or want to reduce their carbon footprint.  It’s almost impossible to go paperless. Actually using paper is good for the environment. Instead of going paperless, go the recycled route.

There are a wide variety of recycled copy paper brands at your disposal. What may factor into your decision is:


-Environmental impact

– Quality

Right now Lewis Paper is featuring Rolland Enviro100 Copy at 10% off. It’s Cascades 100% recycled paper that is targeted for office use.

“We’ve been using it (Enviro100 Copy) for four to five years now because we decided to green,” says Judy Siaba, administrative assistant, Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. “Once we tried it (Enviro100 Copy) out – we were happy with the results,” explains Siaba. “It didn’t jam and we liked the quality.”

Enviro100 Copy contains FSC certified 100% post-consumer fiber and is certified EcoLogo, and Processed Chlorine Free. It is also manufactured using biogas energy. This paper is not only 100% recycled but the processes it goes through and the energy used to make it are renewable and ecofriendly.

A lot of this sounds foreign to most people and it’s hard to really get an idea of what impact using this paper has at the end of the day. Here is an environmental breakdown:

-For every 3 cartons of 8 ½ x 11 20lb. of Enviro100 Copy used you save:

1 Tree

1,241 gallons of water

403 lb. of air emissions

157 lb. of solid waste

These savings are compared to using a virgin sheet or a non-recycled comparable sheet of paper. So just by using a recycled sheet you are reducing your negative impact on the environment.

“We practice sustainability in the workplace and we use Enviro100 Copy because of the cost and availability,” says Mark Felt, project manager, Erhardt Construction.

Erhardt Construction started using Enviro100 Copy in 2008-2009 because they sought out an ABC Green Contractor Certification. According to Felt, one of the requirements was using 100% recycled paper. Once they started using Enviro100 Copy they were happy with the results, “It performs well and looks good,” says Felt.

In comparison to other 100% recycled papers – Enviro100 Copy seems to offer the best environmental savings, quality, and cost.

“It’s a small price to pay to use less chemicals and to be better to the environment,” says Siaba.

Learn more about Rolland Enviro100 Copy here.







Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. Globally it’s celebrated in many different ways by millions of people, organizations, companies, schools, and advocacy groups. Traditionally people hold events like recycling programs for electronics and hazardous materials, carpooling to work, implementing solar panels, and handling waste cleanup. How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day at work?

Not everyone can get out there and do a landfill clean up or help install solar panels at the local community center, but you can show your support in a few simple ways.

  1. Carpool to work. One less car on the road helps to reduce to toxic emissions.
  2. Work by candlelight – or just turn your lights off in your work area and let your computer light your way for the day.
  3. Gather toner cartridges, fluorescent bulbs and other unique recyclables in your office for proper disposal. You can celebrate Earth Day by promoting the idea that many items within the office can be recycled or disposed cleanly.
  4. Have a potluck with your coworkers, sharing organic and fair-trade foods on Earth Day. This way you are all supporting locally grown food without pesticides and hormones. Eat with re-usable utensils, cups, and plates.
  5.  Raise money to donate to a local environmental group. Employee donations could be matched if you’re company has such a program.
  6. Use environmental paper. All month long Lewis Paper is featuring environmental papers. Check out our latest Weekly Special – we talk about Domtar’s Office Paper and Neenah’s Environment paper line.

Lewis Paper is also giving away a free seedling tree to everyone that purchases any of Domtar’s Husky® Copy30 or Earthchoice® Products during the entire month of April. Each order also gets entered into a drawing to win a Mature Tree that will be delivered and installed at their home or place of business. Go to to learn more.

Even at a small scale you can do your part for Earth Day.

Carbonless – Still A Mainstay

Carbonless Paper is still a popular and necessary way for businesses and organizations to keep track, collect, and obtain information.

Do you remember using carbon paper? Remember putting the piece of black tissue like paper in between two sheets of paper and pressing down really hard when writing? Now only three companies in North America still produce carbon paper; it became almost nonexistent when Carbonless Paper was developed in 1952. The carbon sheet of paper was later eliminated from the process of producing copies.

Carbonless Paper may still seem antiquated with the arrival of e-mail and the photocopier. However, businesses and organizations still use them for many reasons: invoices, receipts, quotes, purchase orders, legal forms, employment applications, medical forms, contracts, insurance forms, proposals, delivery forms, and requisition forms on your digital printer.

It’s very easy to get Carbonless Paper forms made through your local printer or to just purchase ready-made carbonless forms. But it’s even more economical and convenient to print them yourself. Doing it in house will save you time and money and you can customize the forms.

Featured in our Weekly Special is Nekoosa’s array of carbonless products. Their Universal CarbonlessUniversal-Carbonless-Sell-Sheet-(Feb–13) is a great option because it can be used on an offset or digital printer. Other features of the Universal Carbonless include:

-Industry leading runnability

-SFI® Certified

-Increased productivity

-Risk free performance

-Lowest impact on the environment

-Darkest, most permanent image

-Nekoosa Bucks Program

Check out our Weekly Special’s to see the other Carbonless options Nekoosa offers.


Alternative to Lamination

There are several reasons why you would laminate, but mainly it’s to preserve and re-use. Lamination is the process of adding multiple layers of material to a composite by using heat, pressure, or adhesive. In the printing world it’s an additional step to take and an additional cost to incur. Is there an alternative?

The whole idea behind lamination is to save money, re-use a product and for durability. For example if you own a restaurant you’d want to laminate your menus for several reasons: in case food or drink was spilled on the menu it would be easy to clean it up; you’d want to re-use the same menus over and over again because it costs less than printing hundreds per day; a laminated menu is more resilient than paper – doesn’t tear, lasts longer, and is impervious to the elements.

Laminating isn’t just for library cards or luggage tags anymore – maps, door hangers, parking passes, menus, retail tags, table tents, and various signs like real estate, hazmat, and advertisements are now popular. In many of these instances lamination is used because it protects the paper from dirt, water, discoloration, grease, aging, and creasing.

Laminating can be costly especially if you’re looking at only printing a small amount.  Why not skip the step and cost of laminating and instead use a paper that has all the same features?

There are polyester papers out there that have the same benefits as laminating.  Nekoosa in particular features two –  Synaps and Thermanent. They are both a digital polyester that promises it runs like paper.  It being digital also saves money on the back end, allowing for shorter runs. If you are interested and want to learn more, look at our Weekly Special or visit

Colored Paper – To Use or Not To Use

With the use of colored paper on the rise, have you ever thought, “How is colored paper made?”

It’s actually not that complicated or sophisticated. Much like paint, all that is done to get the hue you desire is adding some dye during the paper making process.

Check out this video by Domtar to see how paper is made.

Colored paper’s popularity is gaining momentum for several reasons:

-It’s a cost effective way to market a brand, product, or event.

-It improves readership as much as 40%

-Color can account for up to 85% of the reason people decided to buy

-Color can help individuals process and learn new information

-Turn a one-color print into a two-color print job

Using colored paper does challenge the designer to get out of their comfort zone and really think about a design in a whole new way.  Should they strictly use black ink on a yellow or orange sheet? Should they use a different colored ink, such as blue, on a pink sheet? Why not let the color come from the ink and the paper? Imagine the drama a marketing piece would create if a majority of the design was in black ink with the colored sheet popping through in the text or graphic.

Or if your designer has a really good sense of color, try using the color variations in inks and papers, with details such as shadows to create an eye catching piece.

Using colored paper doesn’t shut doors like most people think, it actually opens them. If you have more money in your budget, try adding foil or embossing the piece; this takes it to a whole other level.

Lewis Paper’s Weekly Specials features Domtar® Colors which would be perfect for this type of design. They feature a wide array of colors ideal to use for booklets, bulletins, flyers, manuals and newsletters.









Are You “Die’ing” for a New Way to Market?

Imagine customizing your own business cards, folders, tab dividers, table tents, postcards, parking passess, door hangers, event tickets, luggage tags, wine boxes, golf ball boxes, shelf talkers, window signs, cardboard easels, ballot boxes, coffee cup sleeves, id badges, and integrated cards. This allows businesses to become more versatile and stay on budget at the same time.

For example, a bakery wants to promote a special on wedding cakes for the month of June. How would die cuts fit into that picture? The bakery could send out postcards to promote their special to their customer base. They could also print out larger window signs to draw the attention of foot traffic and use cardboard easels and or table tents to attract the attention of customers inside the store. They could go a step further and encourage customers to drop their business card in a customized ballot box to win a free cake during the month of June.

It allows a business to be hands on with their marketing and also gives them the flexibility to change out promotions rather easily.

Coffee Cup Sleeve

A supplier like Blanks USA offers blank die cuts that can be designed and printed by the end user very conveniently. The business becomes their  own one stop shop so to speak. Blanks USA also offers online templates in every format imaginable to make the whole design and print process almost effortless.

As a business, all you would have to do is create the vision for the campaign, brand, or promotion. By using pre-made blank die cuts as the “blank canvas” it gives you the freedom to change up your company’s message or promotion as frequently or infrequently as you desire.

If you want to try it out for yourself, contact us at for free Samples of Blanks USA die cuts.

Curious About Digital?

It’s hard to argue the appeal of Appleton Coated’s Curious Collection®. The unique line of papers can’t help but draw you in and make a printed piece stand out with its metallic and iridescent attributes.

In today’s competitive market everyone is looking for a way to attract attention with their printed pieces. Design and verbiage are important, but don’t forget about the paper.

Just imagine, you get home from work and start dinner, get the kids going on homework, let the dog out and finally get a few minutes to sort through the mail.  You page through the junk mail, the small postcard mailers from your local lawn care company, the folded  blue or yellow 8 ½ x 11 flyer someone threw in your mailbox and lastly you come across a heavy weight metallic postcard mailer. Instead of tossing it aside you take a look at it because the metallic and iridescent paper caught your eye. The heavier weight and rich color makes you think that it’s a high quality piece and you automatically associate that with the company it’s coming from. You read the content and take in the message – ultimately giving this piece more attention than the others.

Even if it wasn’t sent through the mail, using a unique paper from the Curious Collection® as part of a marketing piece or for a coupon still commands attention. It also gives your printed pieces a more professional look.

Now with Appleton Coated’s larger variety of colors in digital papers, the opportunities are endless. Why not print business cards on Curious Metallics or make bookmarks for a classroom.

To learn more about the Curious Collection visit



Customer Referrals

Businesses have always relied on ‘word of mouth’ or customer referrals to grow their business. Companies can spend big advertising dollars on billboards, Facebook ads and Google rankings to get their name out there, but what ultimately brings in the business and keeps it there?

According to Forrester Research, 71 percent of online shoppers read reviews before buying or trying. Potential customers rely heavily on other consumers’ experiences and opinions.

This has prompted many companies to incent their current customers to gain new business and open more doors. Lewis Paper offers a $25 Customer Referral Program. Check out our program –  Lewis Paper Customer Referral Form. We encourage our current customers to refer Lewis Paper within their network. If that potential customer opens a new account and places an order within 90 days, the customer that referred them gets $25. All they had to do was recommend Lewis Paper. Once that new customer places an order it’s up to us to maintain that customer and hopefully get a referral from them, and so on.

Satisfied customers who make referrals are essentially matchmakers, and good ones. According to the Harvard Business Review, satisfied customers bring in people who like a business’s products, services, location, hours and fees. Because these new customers are good matches, they quickly find features they want and are willing to pay for. They require fewer marketing efforts than nonreferred new customers, so they generate more revenue at a lower cost.

Cold leads do end up costing a company more money than a warm lead. According to The Point, only 6% of cold leads actually lead to some sort of profitable transaction, where a warm lead or existing customer has a 50% chance.

That is why it’s very important to maintain a current customer base by focusing on how they are treated before, during and after any transaction.

Inc. writes, “The first rule of generating customer referrals is quite basic: make your customer happy. “The very first thing you have to do is provide a great product or service,” says Whitney Wood, managing partner of the Phelon Group, a consultancy based in Palo Alto, California, which focuses on helping companies develop better relations with customers. “You shouldn’t be trying to get customers who aren’t happy with you to give you referrals. First give them something they love.”

Word of mouth has been and seems like always will be the best referral out there. Spending marketing and advertising dollars on customer referral incentives is giving companies more of a return than print and web advertising.