According to a definition I found, "Post-Consumer" material is an end product that has completed its life cycle as a consumer item and would otherwise have been disposed of as a solid waste. Post-consumer materials indicates the product was made with these materials that were recycled by residents and other businesses.
Using post-consumer material is not trivial in terms of reducing the impact on forests. According to Wikipedia, recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood; 35% of felled trees are used in paper production; and trees raised specifically for pulp production account for 16% of world pulp production, old growth forests 9% and second- and third- and more generation forests account for the balance.
But should we consider using post-consumer recycled material for labels?
After consulting industry experts, I was told that post-consumer labels:
- · Costs less (~10%) than matte and standard bond paper labels, especially inkjet coated paper.
- · Contains a compound that helps to “capture” ink; producing better print quality than plain paper.
- · Produces, typically, print quality not as good as a matte paper label.
- · Maintains a level of water resistance similar to matte paper labels.
To test these points, I printed using the TM-C3500 on some post-consumer paper and compared it to matte paper labels. Can you tell which are the matte and post-consumer paper?
On the right, you’ll find the post-consumer recycled paper. I found no difference between the print quality between the two different media. Can you see a difference?
Then I tested the printed labels under water.
The top is the post-consumer recycled. From my very limited test, I found the post-consumer recycled label media did not hold up to the water as well. Just to be sure, I took off the liner of the matte paper to compare.
Without the liner, the matte paper label seemed to withstand water better.
Based on my limited tests, I would recommend the post-consumer recycled label for any short term type of labels with the desire to add color; WIP inventory labels, Pick labels, shipping labels, etc. For product or other types of long-lived labels, I would recommend using a more durable matte paper label. Please remember; I printed these labels with a pigment-based inkjet label printer. However, I believe these labels should work with both dye and pigment based inkjet color label printers.
If you like to learn more about reducing waste, check out this post on how moving to print on-demand color reduces waste and costs:
Mercury Medical: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/03/67.html
If you have interest in a post-consumer paper for your print on-demand color labels, contact Color Label Solutions: www.colorlabelsolutions.com.