Zero waste paper making!

Zero waste paper making!

Traditional paper manufacturing requires extensive tree-harvesting and creates a great quantity of pre-consumer waste. If we take for example, the paper we typically use at the office, for 1 Ton of this paper, 24 trees are required to produce it. Of course, we have to take into account that not all trees are the same thickness and height, so let’s keep this as an approximate.
Now, paper-making requires the direct use of trees in order to produce it, not trees that die, but living, healthy trees. It’s manufacturing process at least has a life-cycle process on which paper can be recycled but never up cycled like newspaper wood. Additionally, the percentage of paper that really comes from the tree varies depending on the type of paper: coated (glossy, semi-glossy or matte), pre-consumed paper or virgin paper.

Paper making by paper online.org

Paper making by paperonline.org

Environmentally wise, the use of trees to obtain paper has to be addressed in order to protect the environment. Consequently a group of innovators have already looked at it with eyes wide open. People at Fresh Press have developed paper that changes the process of manufacturing. Instead of cutting healthy trees, un-barking and processing the wood, they turned to waste produced by crops, plants that farmers have already taken their produce but discard a remaining part of the plant, calling it “agri-fiber paper”.

Paper-making at Fresh Press

Paper-making at Fresh Press

They have been developing this type of paper with crops from corn, cotton, sunflower, switchgrass, soybean and rye with a process much more simple and less harmful than the traditional one. Although the process for a single sheet requires man hours, it is a zero carbon emission process because it helps farmers eliminate the burning process of remaining crops after produce harvesting. Additionally, it helps offset or reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, formerly generated with traditional processes.

Undoubtedly, this product is an example of environmental awareness, but how mass-productive is it? Is it cost-effective? I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later machines replace people for doing the curing process for this handmade paper, but the artisan part of it adds exquisite value.
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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.