ColorLok Technology Delivers Excellent Print Quality Even on Recycled Paper


by Dr. John Stoffel, HP Printing Technology Manager

Companies today want to lessen their impact on the environment, but in the printing world, purchasing recycled paper may mean sacrificing print output quality. Not anymore.

A recent HP study found that ColorLok Technology improves the performance of recycled paper. That’s big news for the world of paper buyers and office printers. Companies can now make paper purchasing decisions based not only on output quality, but also on a company’s sustainability and environmental goals.

There have been concerns in the past about the performance of recycled grades of paper—especially the perception that they produce much lower print quality. At Hewlett-Packard, the performance degradation we typically note in recycled paper is that the optical density is less, blacks appear grayer, and the edge acuity of lines is fuzzier. The text is less sharp, and colors appear more muted. For paper created from new pulp, it is common to see tradeoffs of black optical density versus dry time. Papermakers can engineer their paper to absorb ink and dry quickly, or to keep the colorant on the surface for optical density, but generally not both. Recycled paper will tend to deviate from this tradeoff, as contaminants contribute to both slow drying and low optical density. The addition of ColorLok Technology to recycled papers improves both black optical density and dry time.

The experts at HP recently conducted a series of tests to compare the performance of recycled paper with and without ColorLok Technology. If you’re familiar with ColorLok Technology, the results won’t surprise you: Recycled papers treated with ColorLok Technology don’t experience any loss of print quality.

Test results also showed that recycled paper treated with ColorLok shows great improvement in optical density and color richness of printed area because of better ink holdout on the surface of the paper. The ColorLok treatment also improved the sharpness of printed lines.

This is big news when it comes to printing. It means that companies can make eco-friendly decisions about paper sourcing, without worrying about reduced print quality. It also means that you can let your customers know that you’re doing what you can to be environmentally friendly, while also maintaining the bold blacks, rich colors, and sharp lines you expect in a business setting without worrying about reduced print quality.

ColorLok Technology is available worldwide in more than 200 paper brands.  Since the start of the ColorLok program, the logo has appeared on more than 2.1 billion paper reams, making it one of the world’s leading paper ingredient brands. ColorLok Technology can not only help ensure that your prints look great, but can also protect your investment in your print devices. Happy printing!

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