Paper has always been a storyteller. An essential product to our everyday lives, used to create, educate, communicate, protect and entertain. In this digital era, being paperless seems to be the best way forward. But let me unfold the great environmental story paper has to tell.
Over 2000 years ago, paper was invented by the Chinese. The way we make paper has changed with modern technology, but the principle is still the same. Simply put, trees or other plant-based materials, like cotton or bamboo, are mixed with water to create a pulp. This pulp is spread out so the fibres knit together. Squeeze out the water, dry the pulp and the paper is made. Producing paper is very simple and can be used to create many things, even furniture. Design Studio Job, for example, created a paper furniture collection which included a table, cupboard and even a lamp.
Apart from the fact that paper is printable, easy to make and very strong, paper is also made from natural resources that are renewable, recyclable and compostable. In 2018 72% of paper was recycled into new products. This year the industry is seeking to raise that number to 74%, with 80% being the maximum due to items, like books, archives or used tissues, not getting recovered.
In Europe, 60% of the energy to produce paper and paper packaging comes from renewable sources. The paper industry is constantly innovating to be more sustainable. For example: at paper producing company Solidus Solutions sustainability is key to their business strategy. They provide paper recycling solutions that are responsible, efficient and reliable. They tend to use less water and the water they do use is reused and recycled continuously. Besides the paper industry trying to make the production of paper more sustainable, they are also always on the look-out for ways to improve their product. Scientists discovered a way to treat wood that makes it 12 times stronger. So strong, in fact, that it could compete with steel.
In short, it’s about choosing those paper producers who keep innovating their paper production. Let’s help the paper industry raise its level of recycled product. More on that in the next blog.