All paper comes from some sort of fiber. Currently, according to the EPA, the two most common fibers used for making paper include wood from trees or from recycled paper products. The recycled content paper is a good deal, but paper made from wood is not eco-friendly. In fact, the EPA notes that about half of the trees cut down each year are directly used for paper products. What’s worse is that while paper products account for 33% of all materials in the municipal waste stream Americans are only recycling about 55% of that paper.
Basically – tree made paper is us tossing scads of trees into the trash. Lame. It’s especially lame when you consider that paper can be made from all sorts of other stuff, such as, cotton, wheat straw, sugar cane waste, flax, bamboo, wood, linen rags, hemp, and again recycled paper.
If you’re not going to buy recycled paper the best choice is paper that’s made without the use of trees. Here are some options:
Paper made from sugar: The Sugar Cane Paper Company makes paper products like tissues, plates, and more from, as you might guess, sugar cane. Well, technically, it’s made with bagasse; residue left over once sugar has been extracted from the cane. Sugar cane paper is easy to find online and it’s 100% biodegradable.
Paper made from bamboo: This paper has a downside – it’s not that available. YET. Hopefully it will become more popular because bamboo grows faster than trees and bamboo needs less water so there’s another conservation perk. Right now visit Smock to see some bamboo paper goods.
Paper made from hemp: Hemp paper is coming around as a decent contender in the tree free paper world with lots of great paper type choices, for example at Green Field Paper Company. Hemp requires few if any pesticides to grow well, helps control erosion, and contains nutrients and nitrogen that end up back in the soil. Plus hemp is biodegradable.
[image via stock.xchng]