Wood-free paper

This will delight the conservationally-minded.  (Conversation/conservation.  Shopfitting, Shoplifting.  Read carefully. 😉 )

If you remember a while back I posted

In this piece I argue that the paper industry is keeping large stretches of land forested, instead of it being rip-mined or simply going to the dogs.

There is of course a very valid criticism of that stance.

Pine and Eucalypt (Bluegum) forests are not necessarily the way to conserve a country’s natural, indigenous flora.  Nothing much grows under pines; the ground is extremely acidified due to the carpet of needles.  Eucalypts have a (for South Africa at least) even bigger problem:  They suck up the ground water.  Eucalypts were used in Windhoek to dry up a small swampy area so that it could be built up (and you ask, why??? oh why?, Namibia is such a dry place!)

So while a few small furry animals somehow manage to make their nests in those trees, and of course a range of insects, on the whole it’s not an ideal solution – especially seeing that after a number of years the whole “forest” gets chopped down for paper pulp and replanted from go.

Ebooks are definitely the neater solution – if one could only ever feel that one owns them.

But there’s something that has been intriguing me.

Printers from China regularly approach P’kaboo to offer us quotes for printing.  I do make use of such quotes, as I need to know where the large runs will be produced.  In many of these, the printer specifies wood-free paper as the material of choice.

They ask me with concern whether I’d be alright with it, as it is the cheaper option.

Alright?  I’d be ecstatic!

Wood-free paper is of much higher quality; the grain is finer and less brittle, more pliable; the pages shine somewhat (because they are smoother); and of course the impact on the environment is much less than that of wood-pulp paper.

Read more here about wood-free paper.

And I quote only one of the sections, that actually deals with a small business, not large industry (which do dominate the field of wood-free paper:

“Cereal Paper

Temora NSW farmer-environmentalist Ian Thompson has begun a small business making paper from either cereal straw or pin rushes. Ian reduces the grasses to a pulp and presses them into paper to produce quality business cards and wedding invites.

He says, “I’m doing it as a business and also to carry an environmental message. I like working with the pin rushes best – they don’t have the nodes and knots of cereal straw.

His property is also a declared sanctuary in order to deter shooters and non-conservation minded people 7.”


We need to support this industry of wood-free paper.  Who is with me?


7 thoughts on “Wood-free paper

  1. I’m pro-paper, so I would gladly like an alternative to trees. But unless we reverse the trend of deforestation, which will continue despite any alternative source for paper, we will be spitting windward. We are not that destructive as a species, but the system that has its grip firmly upon us is, at heart, exploitative and heedless of any consequences, its only aim being the concentration of money and power. Meanwhile, cereal paper-sourcing takes land out of food production, rather as bio-fuel production does.

    So basically its a lose/lose situation, unless we radically alter the way the world is run. But to do that we have to have a total face-off with the rich and powerful. Who is with me?


    • Sadly, you nailed it. And one of the most maddening habits of those same exploiting super-rich is to let us know via their media that it’s we who are collectively to blame for every coup they strike against nature.

    • Just watched “Lightning Thief” with the kids. Apart from it being a super movie, I couldn’t help quietly detesting the too-loud PC message: The good guy annihilates the upstart and hands the mighty tool of power faithfully back to the mighty that are stuffing around in the Olympus.

      Maybe I’m cynical. But in the light of Nestle pronouncing that water is not a human right, and America inflicting water restrictions on its citizens while still allowing Nestle to tap all they like, I can’t half imagine that it’s about the honesty of the Good Citizen.

      Anderson had a story with a comparable message: The Little Mermaid, unlike in the Disney version, ends up walking on glass shards for the rest of her miserable life because she broke out of her “lower” class and tried social climbing.

  2. Reblogged this on BitterSuites and commented:
    I am totally all in on this idea. I love my paper books, but I hate the water and environmental costs that go along with the harvesting of wood for paper. Who wants to help change and industry?

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