Eco Tips: Guide to paper alternatives

With growing environmental concerns many manufacturers are looking to use paper alternatives. Here is a guide to some of the alternatives you can look out for on packaging to help grow the “tree-free” initiative:

  1. Post-Consumer Waste
    Referring to the paper discarded and recycled by consumers on a day-to-day basis. Choosing to use paper that has a high percentage of post-consumer waste reduces the number of trees needed to produce paper. Recycling helps eliminate the amount of paper going into landfills and saves on energy consumption to produce paper.
  2. Hemp
    A sustainable and environmentally viable alternative to tree pulp, hemp is used for producing many products including paper for many years. Known to be stronger, more durable and cultivated up to twice a year compared to timber, which has a 20 – 30 year rotation.
  3. Kenaf
    A plant relative to cotton, kenaf paper is whiter in color and uses 15% – 25% less energy during production compared to producing tree pulp from pine. A good alternative to wood-paper with growth reaching 12 – 18 feet in 150 days and yields more fibre per acre when compared to pine.
  4. Bamboo
    The fastest growing plant species with some growing more than a metre a day and taking 3 – 5 years to reach maturity. With the ability to grow in depleted soil and mountainsides; bamboo is a strong contender as a paper alternative. Paper produced from bamboo has been used for many years in Asian countries and the demand has grown significantly.
  5. Agri-Pulp
    Produced by combining agricultural waste and post-consumer waste.
  6. Cotton
    One of the strongest and most durable fibres known to man, paper manufactured from cotton will be longer lasting. Organically grown cotton is produced in many colours and is less likely to discolour over time.

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