By Richard Romano on February 28th, 2013
While it will make “rock, paper, scissors” a murkier game, more and more varieties of “stone paper” are appearing on the market. TerraSkin is one that I have written about before (in the context of wide-format substrates), but as per a recent article over at Wired, more varieties are appearing:
The newest on the scene is from the Italian company Ogami, with two collections of Euro-designed notebooks that use stone paper manufactured by a company called Repap. These notebooks have the quality and aesthetic associated with finely made journals from companies like Moleskine, Ciak, and Cartesio.
The “stone,” by the way, in most of these products is calcium carbonate (CaCO3), found throughout nature in rocks like limestone, but also in mollusk and other marine organism shells, eggshells, pearls, and so on. It has also been used in traditional papermaking as a filler, coating, and whitener.
Paper made from stone has some very attractive qualities. It can be smoother to write on, it can be tear-resistant, and it can be more durable than traditional pulp-based paper.
But, uh oh, danger, Will Robinson:
The companies using stone paper claim it is a better alternative to the pulp-based standard, as it does not use trees, water, chlorine, acids, or petroleum in its creation.
The calcium carbonate is ground into a fine powder and mixed together with a small amount of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
So, plastic, made from petroleum products. Now, that’s not inherently a bad thing. And while the stone paper will biodegrade, it’s not entirely certain what will happen to the HDPE.
By all means, use stone paper if its attributes as paper are appealing. But we should be careful about making environmental claims that may not necessarily be valid.
(h/t Gail N-K)