Not all paper is the same - this is also shown in our overview of the different types of paper. Starting with the classic multifunctional paper, which is used for common prints, to the special photo paper for photo prints. We also address the question of why users should keep paper in stock and what the individual seals and certificates say about the paper.

What kind of paper is there?

There are countless types of paper, and we cannot list them all. Particularly well-known and widely used is multi-functional paper, which is also classically called copier or printer paper. Photo paper is used for professional photo printing. Other types of photo paper depend on the specific purpose.

  • Multi-purpose paper: Multi-purpose paper is the classic term for printer paper or copier paper, which is most commonly used in private homes and offices. It can be used for both laser printers and inkjet printers. The printouts are reliable and rich in contrast. 

  • Photo paper: Photo paper lives up to its name, as it is mainly used for professional photo printing. The high photo print quality and the precise ink application result from the special coating of the photo paper. This gives the printed photos a photo gloss that is typical for photos. In addition, there is depth of field and colour brilliance that would not be achieved without special photo paper. If a user uses normal general-purpose paper for photo printing instead, the ink application is imprecise and the ink can smudge because it is not fixed.

  • Thermal paper: This type of paper is needed for the thermal printing process. The paper has a layer on one side that is sensitive to temperature. When heat is applied to the paper, the dye can be formed. An example of the use of thermal paper are the well-known till receipts.

  • Clay paper: For hobbyists and creative people, clay paper is the be-all and end-all for their works. However, this type of paper is not only known as clay paper, but is also called sound cardboard, photo cardboard or simply craft paper.

  • Plotter paper: So-called plotter paper is often used in the commercial and industrial sector. This paper is suitable for large format printers, also known as plotters.

  • Banner paper: Plotter paper is already a special type of paper that is only needed in certain areas of application. It is similar with banner paper for banners, this paper is also very special and is rather less needed for private use.

  • Medical paper: Medical paper is the type of paper used for medical equipment. If, for example, ECG or other results have to be printed out, this is done on specially printed medical paper. The printed lines and values can be evaluated using the predefined values.

Why does it make sense to have paper in stock?

If you always have only a few sheets of paper in the printer and then you have to print important documents, you quickly get into a problematic situation. What should you do if there is not enough paper in stock? To avoid this, there should always be enough printer paper in the cupboard. This is advantageous for many reasons:

  • Printer paper can often be purchased cheaper even in larger packages.
  • By stacking the paper vertically, no extra space is needed in the cupboard.
  • Unexpected printers can pop up at any time, be it important letters from authorities, contracts, documents, homeschooling tasks for children or private notes and information.
  • If you already have printer paper in stock, you don't have to visit a local shop, travel to get it, or consider delivery times for online purchases in an emergency. Instead, at least one extra pack should always be available in the cupboard.

What do the Blue Angel, FSC and PEFC seals mean?

Environmental seals and ecolabels help you to decide how environmentally friendly a paper is when you buy it. The seals and labels are based on social standards, economic standards and ecological standards.

  • Blue Angel: The Blue Angel eco-label was introduced in Germany in 1978. To this day, the blue seal is considered a reliable indication that the product is environmentally friendly. If paper bears the Blue Angel, this means that it is made entirely of recycled paper. The paper must meet the strictest criteria in the area of chemical use and at the same time the seal is checked every three to four years. So if you want to use paper that is made of 100 per cent recycled paper, you should look for the Blue Angel seal.
  • FSC® seal: There are different levels of the FSC® seal. As with the Blue Angel, the seal "FSC Recycled" states that the fibres of the paper come 100 per cent from waste paper. If, on the other hand, the seal reads "FSC 100 percent", it means the same thing, but the virgin fibres come from sustainable forestry. With the "FSC Mix" seal, at least 70 per cent must come from FSC-certified wood, alternatively at least 70 per cent from wood from other controlled sources or recovered paper.
  • PEFC: This eco-label signals sustainable forest management. However, it only concerns the origin of the fibre materials. There is no chemical testing. Paper can be awarded the "PEFC recycled" seal if at least 70 per cent is recycled material and from controlled sources.
  • ECOP: The Blue Angel is already a very high standard as an eco-label. The "ÖKOPAplus" seal is considered even better, as it even has the Blue Angel as a prerequisite. At the same time, care is taken to ensure that the paper is not chemically treated or that colouring agents consist only of vegetable substances.

What is most important when buying paper?

Apart from the fact that users should always choose the right type of paper for their purpose, there are other criteria that play a role when buying.

  • Environment: If a buyer wants to pay attention to the environmental aspect, then the paper should ideally at least bear the PEFC seal. Even better is the Blue Angel environmental seal, followed by the ÖKOPA seal.
  • Gloss: When buying paper, a gloss value is given as a percentage. This value indicates how intensely a paper shines when illuminated from a 75-degree angle. 
  • Paper whiteness: This value describes the reflectivity in relation to white light.
  • Grammage: Grammage is the weight of paper calculated per unit area. It is measured in grams per square metre.
  • Volume: If you take the thickness of the paper in relation to the mass of the paper per unit area, the result is the volume in cubic centimetres per gram.
  • Opacity: This value indicates how opaque a paper is. If paper is used for double-sided printing, the opacity should be as high as possible so that the reverse side does not show through.