The Wheat Sheet is an office-grade paper that offers the same quality, appearance and performance of regular paper, but uses less trees, produces less carbon and is cost-competitive with other 30% recycled ‘tree’ papers. Wheat Sheet contains 60% wheat straw residue from the wheat farming process, 35% recycled FSC Certified wood fibre from the plywood industry and 5% FSC Certified plantation fibre.
It is marketed by Social Print Paper, a company of self-described ‘Competitive Social Entrepreneurs’.
“Many sustainable products are asking consumers to pay 20, 30 or even 40% more. We want to break that model,” says Social Print Partner Minto Roy, “I also hope we can change the ideology that says paper has to be made from trees.”
At present, the paper is made at a mill in Northern India. Predictably, the labour costs there make it profitable, but it’s also a matter of having the specialized equipment to process the wheat straw from the farming process.
The team at Social Print has visited the plant, and reports that their employment and safety standards are strong enough for another of their major customers: Wal-Mart. Furthermore, according to a life cycle assessment recently completed with TruCost, the Wheat Sheet still delivers a measurable carbon footprint improvement, even when shipping is factored into the equation.
For the average company, the carbon footprint of their paper may not be that material to their overall impact, but an organization like a major university can be a different story. Based on using 70 Million sheets of paper in a year, a university such as UBC can reduce their carbon emissions by 381,000kg and save almost 8,000 trees, by using Wheat Sheet instead of virgin fiber paper. That’s no small amount, and well worth considering in an overall corporate carbon reduction strategy.
So look for the ‘agri-paper’ movement to start to take off. Pretty soon you could be more concerned with your paper’s gluten count than its carbon footprint.
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