With the paper industry currently accounting for two percent of world commerce and two thirds of the fiber used in the production of paper originating with virgin tree fiber, it’s great to see a surge in popularity of tree free paper and “hybrid” blends. Some of the alternatives being used are quite amazing.
For example, EcoPaper uses mango, lemon, coffee and banana in their paper products and they are currently researching the possibility of using pineapple, orange and palm hearts!
Not only do these alternatives save some trees, but helps deal with a lot of industrial/agricultural waste. For example, the global banana agro-industry generates over 10 million tons of pinzote (stems) each year, much of which winds up in landfills or local rivers. 5% of pinzote weight is usable as paper fiber.
The paper offered by EcoPaper isn’t 100% tree free, but according to their site any component that has tree origins is post consumer waste, recycled paper; the use of which offers 60-70% energy savings over virgin pulp (the paper industry is the 3rd largest consumer of energy in the USA), uses 55% less water, reduces water pollution by 35% and reduces air pollution by 74%.
The company’s history and processes are quite fascinating and you can read more about how it all comes together here.
I’ve got some coffee paper headed my way – I hope it retains even just a hint of the scent of coffee too..mmmmm.