CO2 savings per 1,000 kg of sweet grass paper produced:
Compared to FSC wood fibre paper: – 231 kg (- 20%)
Compared to recycled paper: – 756 kg (- 45%)
The saving of 100 kg CO2 is equivalent to a 769 km car journey
(Source: European Union – Average new car emissions of 130 g CO2 / km from 2015).
Use of waste for sustainable paper production
In order to feed the world’s population, plants such as rice, grain or sugar cane are cultivated all over the world. 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 burnt. This waste is now used for the production of paper, which can be recycled up to seven times, just like conventional wood fibre paper. Furthermore, due to its natural components, the sweet grass paper is both industrially and home compostable (Certified according to DIN CERTO). This can help to counteract the deforestation of millions of hectares of forests that are still needed for paper and cardboard production. With only about 1.8% of the annual agricultural waste, the entire annual paper and cardboard demand can be covered throughout Europe.
Sweet grass paper from India
The paper mill has its headquarters in Kagithapuram, in the province of Tamil Nadu in the south of India. This location is well chosen because a large part of the agricultural waste is generated there and can therefore be used directly locally. Through cooperation with thousands of local small farmers, the world’s largest paper mill using agricultural waste has been built there. This prevents the annual deforestation of an area of forest equivalent to over 20,000 football pitches or the size of the municipality of Amsterdam.
LCA environmental study on sweet grass paper
The environmental study carried out by IVAM University Amsterdam compares the environmental impact of FSC paper, recycled paper and sweet grass paper. The criteria are the use of raw materials, chemicals, water, energy, technology and waste, and their environmental impact during the product’s life cycle. It considers the entire production chain from the production of the raw material, paper manufacturing, packaging and transport in accordance with the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards and is divided into three main indicators: human health, ecological diversity and availability of raw materials. Then, LCA (Life Cycle Analysis Points) are calculated for each type of paper analysed using 17 subordinate indicators. These consider, among other things, ecotoxicity to soil, water and people, smog formation, consumption of fossil resources, acidification of soils, etc.
This overall assessment shows that the environmental impact of sweet grass paper is 47% less than that of FSC paper and 26% less than that of recycled paper.