Every year, 92 million metric tons of paper are produced in the United States. With this massive amount of paper comes a multitude of different sizes, colors, and thicknesses. The appearance of your paper can be crucial when it comes to supplementing your next big project or use in your day to day business, as your end result depends on the paper that you are using. Before putting in your order of bulk paper, it is important to understand the differences between paper brightness and whiteness.
The brightness of paper is determined by how much the paper reflects blue light (specifically with a wavelength of 457 nanometers). This is measured on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most reflective. For example, a piece of paper with a brightness of 85 is going to be much brighter than one with a brightness of 65.
This is not the only metric you should go by. Just because two pieces of paper are similar in terms of brightness, it does not mean that they will look similar. Brightness does not take into account the rest of the light spectrum, which can drastically affect the looks of the paper.
Just like paper brightness, whiteness is measured on a scale from 1 to 100, increasing in whiteness as the number increases. It still has to do with the reflection of light, though. Whiteness takes into account the entire light spectrum. Through this metric, you can start to see the difference between a warmer, softer piece of paper, and paper with a blue, cool tint. This is similar to the color temperature scale used for bulbs.
Breaking the Scale
You may stumble upon some paper that exceeds the 100 maximum for brightness or whiteness. Some paper companies may choose to add certain materials that enhance and increase the paper’s whiteness and brightness, to a point where it exceeds the scale for normal pulp paper. These additives, commonly known as Optical Brightening Agents, actually reflect ultraviolet light that we would not normally be able to see as visible light.
No matter what you are using your paper for, make sure to look out for these metrics whenever ordering from your wholesale paper supplier. If you are looking to buy bulk paper of any brightness or whiteness, make sure to contact your local paper supplier.