[This post has been update]For those who remember the noble experiment of Canadian Geographic magazine printing a 2008 issue on paper made in part with recycled wheat straw, it will be heartening to know that there has been progress on the recycling front. Such paper is now available to consumers as copy paper. It was announced today that the paper -- which uses 80% less forest fibre than traditional paper -- is now available through Staples stores across Canada.
The product, branded Step Forward Paper, is manufactured by Winnipeg-based Prairie Pulp and Paper Inc. The provision of the straw-based paper [update: manufactured in India] is the company's first step; the second will be constructing a 100% tree-free eco-mill to manufacture it on the Canadian praires. The release of the new paper is a joint venture of Priairie Pulp and Paper Inc, the distributor Unisource Canada, the exclusive retailer Staples and Canopy, the environmental campaigner dedicated to preserving the world's forests.
The paper contains 80 per cent straw from leftover by-product of harvested wheat crops and 20 per cent Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified wood fibre. (Compare this with the paper used by Canadian Geo in its experiment, which had 20% wheat straw; at the time, the biggest obstacle was a lack of Canadian paper plants willing or able to produce the paper.)
“Paper made from leftover straw produces high quality and performance that compares with other copy and printer papers,” said Pete Gibel, Vice President of Merchandising at Staples Canada. “It’s an easy and cost-effective way for consumers and small businesses to conserve our world’s forests without sacrificing quality.”
Canopy is helping publication printers test straw-based papers. Those that currently stock these papers are listed here.