Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How High-yield Paper Works


Advantages of High-yield Paper
Xerox's Bruce Katz examines how samples of paper curl when exposed to humidity. Solving the curl problems of mechanical paper enabled Xerox to develop its new High Yield Business Paper.
Xerox's Bruce Katz examines how samples of paper curl when exposed to humidity. Solving the curl problems of mechanical paper enabled Xerox to develop its new High Yield Business Paper.
Photo courtesy Kevin Rivoli/Xerox

Besides its lower environmental footprint, high-yield paper has some other advantages over similar papers designed for digital printing. It doesn't produce dust or curl at the edges when exposed to the heat of printing, which has been a problem with mechanically pulped papers in the past. The lack of curling also reduces how often the paper may jam.

Heat plays an important part in printing since it helps to fuse the image to the paper. That heat also pushes moisture out of the paper, causing the paper to shrink ever so slightly. But in some other papers (and in previous attempts to create this kind of paper), the two sides of the paper shrank at different speeds, which caused the curling effect. Xerox scientists -- or paper technologists, as the company calls them -- overcame this problem by properly aligning the paper's cellulose fibers on both sides of the paper.

This paper is lightweight, which further cuts down on costs for consumers, as shipping it will be cheaper. Xerox also claims that the decreased weight allows it to include 10 more sheets per pound of paper [source: Gizmag].

But not all is cheers and celebrations with Xerox's baby. This paper is 20-pound paper, similar to standard printing paper, and like its peers in this category, material printed on one side is slightly visible on the other side, although the paper is considered suitable for double-sided printing.

Another potential disadvantage: Because it includes lignin, in addition to white cellulose, high-yield paper isn't as bright white as chemically bleached paper, although that may not be a concern for most users. On the 100-point brightness scale used for paper, it rates an 84. Papers designed for color printing usually have brightness ratings in the high 90s.

Because of the presence of lignin, high-yield paper doesn't retain its color for as long as conventional papers. Like old newsprint, which also contains lignin, it will eventually turn yellow.

Finally, this paper may not be as "green" as you might think. Aside from the obvious fact that it requires trees, the paper doesn't use recycled material, nor does it come from sustainable forests -- both of which are considered important standards for more environmentally responsible paper [source: NPR]. You are, of course, free to reuse or recycle your own paper. Most office supply stores also sell a variety of recycled paper or paper taken from sustainable forests.

For more information about different types of papers and similar topics, please look over the links on the next page.