With the cost of wood pulp rising, and deforestation regularly on the environmental agenda, a number of countries are looking at other raw ingredients and methods for paper production.
There are a number of companies across the globe that are looking to this and taking a creative approach to the materials used in producing paper.
Here are some of the more common labels to look out for next time you go shopping for stationery:
This is perhaps the most common alternative to virgin paper. This type of paper is made from a high percentage of post-consumer waste – those paper items that we have thrown into the recycling bin. Buying stationery made from post-consumer waste ticks a number of environmental boxes by reducing the number of trees being used, it keeps paper out of landfill and it also saves energy too!
This is similar to the cotton plant and uses 15-25% less energy than pine to make pulp.
This fast-growing grass produces 4 to 5 times the fibre of the fastest-growing commercial tree species and is becoming increasingly popular for paper, and clothing products too.
This alternative source uses agricultural waste, along with post-consumer waste to make paper.
Organically grown cotton, grown in several colors, including green, brown, and white is another popular alternative.
Paper, without trees, really?
There is a wide variety of alternative ‘fibres’ that can work as an alternative to wood-pulp paper. Sources for tree-free paper include:
- agricultural residues – for example, sugar cane bagasse, husks and straw.
- fibre crops and wild plants – such as bamboo, kenaf, hemp, jute, and flax.
- textiles and cordage wastes.
There are also non-fibre sources, such as:
- calcium carbonate bound by a high-density, non-toxic polyethylene resin.
A closer look
Made using cotton liners or cotton from used cloth as the primary material, cotton paper is used as an alternative to wood paper for printing documents. Cotton paper is superior in both strength and durability, compared to wood pulp-based.
Given its durability, and known to last hundreds of years without appreciable fading, discoloration, or deterioration, it is often used for archival copies of dissertations or theses, legal documents, etc.
Interestingly, it is used for banknotes in a number of countries.
Paper from Sugarcane
Bagasse is the residue left after the sugar cane is crushed in the sugar factories for juice extraction. It contains about 45% cellulose, 28% pentosans, 20% lignin, 5% sugar, and 2% minerals and its high- cellulose content makes it viable as a fibrous raw material in the paper industry.
Recently, paper experts have agreed that bagasse, after proper depithing process, is an ideal raw material for manufacturing different kinds of paper, newsprint etc.
The uses of bagasse in paper-making are extensive. The physical properties of the pulp mean that it is suited for generic printing papers, as well as tissue products. It is widely used for boxes and newspaper production, and is also used for making boards like particle boards. It is often considered as a good substitute for plywood.
Turning wheat into paper
Most of the mills that produce paper from wheat and other agricultural waste products are located in India, China and other eastern hemisphere countries.
Kenaf is also grown in the southeastern United States, solely for its pulp, and it is promoted by many paper suppliers in USA.
Rock – Paper – Scissors!
Stone paper is manufactured using calcium carbonate, bonded with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s used for stationery, leaflets, posters, books, magazines, bags, packaging, alongside many other uses.
Whilst it is not biodegradable, stone is photo-degradable and compostable. It can also be recycled into rich mineral paper again. Given that it does not collect static charge, is acid-free with a neutral pH, has no grain, is water, grease, and insect resistant; stone paper is a specialist paper product.
PG paper specialises in sourcing and delivering your paper needs with ease and comfort, wherever you are in the world.
Get in touch today at [email protected]per.com to discuss your requirements.