I try to mitigate my impact by choosing recycled FSC paper (as opposed to just recycled or just FSC), but the prospect of a more ecofriendly option immediately gets my attention. That option is a stone paper notebook, a note book with pages literally made from stone (well, the waste from stone), completely tree-free.
The story of stone paper notebooks starts in Sydney with the company Karst. The founders, attribute their inspiration to stone paper they came across in Taiwan being used for food packaging. Karst makes their silky-smooth paper by grinding waste marble and limestone rubble from construction to a powder and extracting the calcium carbonate. This is then pelletised and mixed with a small amount (around 10%) of a non-virgin recyclable plastic binding agent. The mixture is then pressed, smoothed and stretched into sheets, to be cut into books.
The process of making this paper has a carbon footprint that is 60% less than making conventional pulp paper, not to mention requiring less water and leaving trees untouched. While the paper does contain some plastic, the amount is ever decreasing as technology improves – and Karst claims the plastic that is used is recyclable and degradable in sunlight.
In fact, the notebooks are recyclable in their entirety through kerbside recycling but Karst also encourage users to return their books to them for recycling - putting them straight back into the manufacturing stream from which they came. In recognition of the efforts Karst have gone to bring their ecofriendly alternative to paper to the market, they have achieved both B Corp status and C2C (cradle to cradle) silver certification. The presence of these certifications brings some peace to my mind.
With the market growing, it isn’t surprising Karst aren’t the only producers of stone paper products, but these certifications place Karst above the rest. Regardless of the manufacturer though stone paper has significant environmental benefits over conventional wood pulp paper, the presence of plastic notwithstanding:
First and foremost, no trees are felled. (It has been stated that by replacing 1 ton of wood pulp paper with 1 ton of stone paper it is possible to save 20 trees.)
None of the bleaching agents, acids or fluorescent chemicals typically used in conventional paper manufacture.
The process uses 50% less energy required compared with conventional paper manufacture and uses less water than conventional paper, with each metric tonne of stone requiring 100 litres of water that is captured and reused.
The process is entirely waste-free which means there is no threat to ground water. Any leftover materials can be taken up in the next batch.
Product is infinitely recyclable without any loss of quality
Stone paper is lighter than conventional paper making shipping less energy intensive.
Stone paper is durable, stain, tear and water resistant giving it a potentially longer and more efficient life span.
The price is certainly a touchpoint. You can buy 10 cheap notebooks at the supermarket for less than the price of one Karst notebook - but the books write like a dream. Their water resistance means they are able to withstand a leaking cup or water bottle they share space with inside my bag. For me, it is worth every cent.
Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.