An innovative stationery company has figured out a way to make paper from crushed stone, using no trees or water in the process.
Did you know it's possible to make paper out of stone? A company called Karst Stone Paper, from Australia, is doing precisely this -- producing beautiful bound notebooks filled with paper made with 80-90 percent crushed stone and 10 percent non-toxic resin used to bind it together.
The concept is fascinating. Because there are no tree fibers used in the process, the paper has no grain. It is easy to write on and easy to cut with scissors. At the same time, it's difficult to tear, ink does not bleed through, and it is waterproof. (This last one is hard to believe, since the dangers of mixing paper and water are so ingrained, but Karst writes in its FAQ section that "whether or not you can use Karst underwater is a matter of your pen, and not our paper.")
The traditional pulp-and-paper industry is notoriously dirty. It is the fourth largest industrial energy user worldwide. Some 400 million tons of paper are produced annually, with half of that in U.S., Canada, Japan and China. Karst points out that it takes 18 mature trees and 2,770 litres (732 gallons) of water to make just one ton of wood pulp paper.
Stone paper, by contrast, uses no water in production and the crushed stone (a.k.a. calcium carbonate, an abundant resource) is gathered from construction waste and what's left over in quarries. When you're done with it, stone paper can be recycled along with other wood-based paper, turned into a different product, or left to biodegrade fully within 9 to 12 months. Its carbon footprint is estimated to be 60 percent less than regular paper.
The company is a member of the One Tree Planted Foundation and pledges to plant a tree for every notebook sold.
It's an intriguing concept and one that Karst hopes will disrupt the paper industry for the better. The company has only been around for a few months, but it has sold out of 11,000 notebooks in that period of time. It seems that people are eager to get their hands on some stone stationery -- and who wouldn't be? It's such a weird and wonderful concept.
Learn more here.