Matabooks is the first (German) publisher to produce completely vegan books from grass paper. The word “vegan” may seem confusing in this context, as it otherwise mainly stands for a plant-based diet without animal products. But just like many foods, clothing textiles and cosmetics, conventional books often contain hidden animal ingredients.
To understand how books can be ‘veganised’, the first question that arises is: “How do animal ingredients get into books? The answer is divided into three parts:
When binding books, among other things, so-called bone glue (glutin glue) is used. This glue consists of animal components, which are produced by boiling bones, skins and leather. The raw materials are dried, crushed, degreased and treated with a lime solution. The collagen obtained is then converted into glutin.
Printing inks in offset printing consist of pigments, resins, mineral oils and additives. Organic dyes, among other things, are used to produce pigments. These consist partly of the dye carmine (E120), which is produced from lice (in Europe cochineal scale insects). To produce the dye, the lice are bred on selected plants, “harvested”, dried and boiled in water (with the addition of sulphuric acid).
Animal skins are mainly used as the basic material for leather book cover materials. In the production of leather they go through various mechanical and chemical processes. The epidermis and hypodermis are removed from the leather hide, resulting in ‘nakedness’. The leather hide is cleaned, depilated, pickled with sodium sulphide and then mechanically split. Goatskin is the most commonly used bookbinding material and is made from hides of various African, Indian or European breeds of goat. Other types of leather are made from hides of cattle, sheep, pigs and savannah goats.
Matabooks are free of animal components in the printing inks, bookbinding glue and book covers. All processes of book production are carried out with regard to environmental aspects and sustainability. All finishing processes of the books are implemented with a view to their ecological balance.
How do animal ingredients actually get into books?
Paper consumption per Capita
Did you know?
The grass is sun-dried into hay and processed in the paper mill. The water requirement for the production of grass pulp is only 2 litres per tonne.
Why does Matabooks use grass paper?
The raw material grass, in contrast to cellulose, is a purely natural product and is available in Germany in sufficiently large quantities.
Even with intensive use of this land, biodiversity can be guaranteed.
Grass is not destroyed during harvesting and grows again and again.
Grass naturally has little lignin. Therefore no chemicals are used in its production.
Due to the shorter transport distances, up to 75% of CO2 consumption can be avoided.
The grass for Matabooks’ products is harvested in the immediate vicinity of the paper mill – the average transport distance is only 100 km.
The more books we use made of grass paper, the more we can actively do something together to protect the environment. Each book can either be recycled or composted. Every blade of grass counts!