Even though it could give a whole new meaning to the game Rock, Paper, Scissors – but could paper hewn from stone prove to be the world’s most environmentally friendly paper to manufacture?
By: Ringo Bones
Even though it has been manufactured since the late 1990s, the product has gained recent press coverage by the BBC because the company who invented it is currently spending 50 million US dollars to further lower the cost of its manufacture and to make it more environmentally friendly to produce. Stone Paper – also known as rock paper, paper from waste marble, mineral paper or rich mineral paper – is a paper-like product manufactured from calcium carbonate, actually an allotrope of calcium carbonate which we know of as marble, bonded with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). It is used for stationery, leaflets, posters, books, magazines, bags, packaging, wallpaper, adhesives, tags, in-mould labels, plates, trays, containers and many other uses.
The process of creating stone paper was first developed by the Lung Meng Tech Company of Taiwan during the late 1990s. Stone Paper has been patented in over 40 countries, where it is marketed under a variety of trade names such as MIST Paper, Parax paper, Terraskin, Vlastone, Kampier, Emana Green, Rockstock, Pixz Printing, KYStone Paper and Nu Stone.
Stone Paper has a density range of 1.0 to 1.6 grams per cubic centimeter which equals that or is slightly heavier than ordinary paper and a texture somewhat like that of the outer membrane of a boiled egg. It may be recycled with Number 2 plastics or remade into raw blank Stone Paper again. Even though it is not as biodegradable in comparison to paper manufactured from wood pulp, Stone Paper is photo-degradable and compostable under commercial conditions.
The RPD and RBD papers / Stone Papers have a number of advantages over traditional paper made from wood pulp. Stone Paper collects no static charge, is acid-free with a neutral pH value, has no grain, is water, grease and insect resistant and tears with difficulty due to its latex-like texture.
Having no grain, Stone Paper possesses a smoother surface than most traditional wood-pulp based paper products, obviating the need for a coating or lamination. It burns cleanly without toxic fumes. The source of the calcium carbonate used in the manufacture of Stone Paper is a waste material collected from marble quarries and offcuts which are ground and reduced to fine white calcium carbonate powder. The production of Stone Paper uses no water, acids and no bleach or optical brighteners are used that could pose problems of low-cost environmentally friendly disposal or has the potential to cause water pollution in the local environment. Stone Paper is compatible with inkjet or solid ink printers – e.g. Offset, Letterpress, gravue, flexographic – but do not respond well to very high temperature laser printers.