SDG 12 | Responsible production and consumption
It is a more ecological support, since it reduces the use of ink and does not cut down trees
Right now, most of the paper we consume is made by pressing cellulose fibers into sheets and then drying them. These come from wood pulp in most cases, although cotton, hemp and linen are also used.
But, and with the aim of improving the sustainability of the planet, there is an alternative: stone paper, a completely non-toxic and biodegradable option. In other words, for its preparation it is not necessary to cut down trees or use water. All this causes its manufacture to be of low carbon emissions. A process in which, moreover, no acids or bleach are involved during production, since the color of the stone paper is originally white, so it does not require any subsequent bleaching process.
In this way, producing a ton of stone paper allows, compared to carrying out this same process with traditional paper, avoiding the felling of 20 trees, saving 900 kg of CO2 emissions, 60,000 liters of water and 150 kg of solid waste avoided.
In addition, it should be noted that this material is prepared to be used in many types of printing, including offset lithography and screen printing. In fact, since it does not have any type of fiber, it does not absorb ink like traditional wood pulp paper does. This makes it more environmentally friendly as 15-20% less ink needs to be used during printing compared to wood pulp paper.
What is it made of?
Stone paper is made up primarily of calcium carbonate, a substance found in rocks (hence its name). In its elaboration there is no trace of any type of tree.
One ton of stone paper prevents the felling of 20 trees and saves 900 kg of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere
Due to their high density, stone paper products also retain their shape over time. In any case, this type of stone paper will degrade safely, without the depletion of harmful gases, and will completely disappear in 9 to 12 months if left in nature under light exposure. It can also be easily burned without the release of harmful gases.
In addition, it is a resistant material, practically impossible to tear and that, in addition, is resistant to water, which means that in the event that it falls on an object made with this type of paper, it can be easily cleaned without damaging its sheets or its content. As a curiosity, it should be noted that, as it does not have fibers, it also repels fat better, so that fingerprints are not marked on its leaves when these are passed.
Why this material?
Cuento de Luz is a publisher of children’s texts whose books are printed on this type of material. Ana Eulate, founder and CEO of this company, learned about this support through an American friend, who told them about “an innovative type of mineral paper” and that it was produced with calcium carbonate, “one of the most abundant minerals on our planet ». This phrase caught their attention, “because we have always opted for innovation.”
Stone paper degrades safely and completely within 9-12 months if left in nature or exposed to sunlight
Thus, in 2017 they began to print all their books on stone paper. “We are the first publisher in Europe to incorporate it systematically,” says Eulate.
This same person in charge ensures that sustainability and the responsible use of natural resources are “among the principles that guide us.”
Therefore, the fact that, according to their data, the use of energy in the stone paper manufacturing process is 50% less than that of conventional paper, which generates a minimum environmental impact, was something that “fit perfectly with the social and environmental commitment that is part of the philosophy of Cuento de Luz, which is also a B Corp certified company since 2015».
«It is a resistant, waterproof material with a very soft and velvety touch. Does not produce cuts like traditional paper sheets»
founder and CEO of Cuentos de Luz
For those who have never had a book made with stone paper in their hands, Eulate explains that, as it is a mineral paper produced without wood fiber, without water and without chlorine, it is “resistant, waterproof and very soft and velvety to the touch. It does not produce cuts like traditional sheets of paper. In addition, he assures that the readers of his books “love to caress the pages.”
The founder of this editorial also highlights the fact that this material is “a natural insulator of moisture, fat, fungi, very suitable for libraries and schools.”
In the case of these books, they have a logo on the back cover that indicates that the material they are made of is this stone paper. According to Eulate, sustainability is increasingly influencing consumer purchasing decisions. «The readers and followers of Cuento de Luz in the different social networks know that the use of stone paper is something that characterizes us and that it is a great choice that has multiple benefits. Children and adults alike love knowing that this type of paper does not pollute springs or rivers and that its use contributes to safeguarding our forests.”
Therefore, they do not mind having to pay more. In fact, Eulate acknowledges that the price of this material is “high” and “much more expensive than conventional paper.” However, he considers that “sustainable printing with this type of paper is an innovative approach, a social and environmental commitment that forms part of Cuento de Luz’s DNA.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.