Sweetgrass Paper – Wood-free and Sustainable
Nowadays, awareness and interest in climate protection and sustainability are steadily growing. Saving carbon dioxide plays a central role in this. In addition to grass paper, the use of sustainable sweetgrass paper is one way of doing this, as it is produced from agricultural waste – thus otherwise unused resources can be applied and contribute to CO2 reduction. The environmental impact of sweetgrass paper is thus 47 % less than the production of FSC paper from tree fibres and 27 % less than the production of recycled paper.
Source: IVAM University Amsterdam
Using waste for sustainable paper production
In order to feed the world’s population, plants such as rice, grain, or sugar cane are cultivated worldwide. After harvesting the edible plant components, leaves, stems, etc. remain as agricultural waste. It makes up about 80 % of the plant material and is usually burned.
This waste is now used for the production of sweetgrass paper, which can be recycled up to seven times just like conventional wood fibre paper. Therefore, the sweetgrass paper is wood-free and, due to its natural components, vegan and both industrially and home compostable (certified according to DIN CERTO).
This can counteract the deforestation of millions of hectares of forests that are still necessary for paper and cardboard production. With only about 1.8 % of the annual agricultural waste, the entire annual paper and cardboard demand in the whole of Europe can be covered.
Sweetgrass Paper from India
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The paper mill has its headquarters in Kagithapuram, in the province of Tamil Nadu in southern India. This location is favourably chosen because a large part of the agricultural waste is generated there and can thus be directly used locally. By working together with thousands of local small farmers, the world’s largest paper mill using agricultural waste could be built there.
LCA Environmental Study on Sweetgrass Paper
The environmental study conducted by IVAM University Amsterdam compares the environmental impact of FSC paper, recycled paper, and sweetgrass paper. The criteria are the use of resources, chemicals, water, energy, technology, and waste, as well as their impact on the environment during the life cycle of the product. The entire production chain is considered here, from the production of the raw material, paper manufacture, packaging, and transport in accordance with the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards.
It is divided into three main indicators: human health, ecological diversity, and availability of raw materials. LCA points (Life Cycle Analysis Points) are then calculated for each type of paper analysed using 17 subordinate indicators. These considerations, among other things, ecotoxicity to the soil, water, and people, smog formation, fossil resource consumption, soil acidification, etc. This overall assessment shows that the environmental impact of sweetgrass paper is 47 % lower than that of FSC paper and 26 % lower than that of recycled paper.
CO2 equals a
long car journey
CO2 savings of sweetgrass paper:
CO2 savings per 1,000 kg of sweetgrass paper produced are -231 kg (-20%) CO2 equivalents compared to FSC wood fibre paper and -756 kg (-45 %) CO2 equivalents compared to recycled paper.
Source: European Union, average new car emissions of 130 g CO2 / km as of 2015