Continuing on from our previous post, tackling the greener options when it comes to your wedding paper and printing, let’s dive into the wonderful world that is tree-free!
The popular war cries: “Save the forests!” or “Save the Trees!” have been around for ages, and for good reason. Over 300 million tons of paper are produced worldwide in any given year. Closer to home, the US alone consumes roughly 4 million tons of copy paper, 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, 90 billion annoying bits of junk mail and 25 million newspapers in a single year… at least 40% of which ends up in landfills all over the country.
And as far as our forests are concerned, that’s only taking PAPER products into consideration.. not construction material, not recreational needs, nor anything else! Just. paper. In order to feed this voracious appetite, more than 30 million acres of forest are consumed and destroyed every year. And unfortunately for everyone, that is a pace that mother earth just can’t keep up with.
To help you break this cycle, here are some alternative fiber options you might want to consider for your wedding projects.
The most common option (available in 25%, 50% or 100% grade), cotton fiber papers are a dominant presence presence in the market. This isn’t only because of its eco-friendliness as a sustainable resource (more on this in a second), but also for its almost unmatched caliber – negligible fading or discoloration over time, amazing print quality, etc. It is also a #1 choice for letterpress. However, cotton as a crop requires an exorbitant amount of water and space to grow well. That said, harvested and grown responsibly, it gets the “sustainable” designation as a resource rather than “renewable.”
Natural plant fiber papers are those made from, you guessed it – various fibrous parts of plants. Cotton does fall in this category as well, but I want to address some of the lesser known (often handmade) options, many of which originated in various countries all over the world. Lotka and Mulberry are fantastic examples harvested from the bark of fast-growing bushes and shrubs. And as a result, many of the natural textures and fibers are still visible in the paper itself. While mulberry paper is often used as a decorative addition to a card or invitation due to its light weight and wispy feel, lotka paper can be very thick and durable, working well as the main attraction for any printed project.
Another player in the handmade alternative fiber field, are those papers made from the waste fibers from the processing of agricultural products, such as bananas, tobacco, coffee, and much much more. The collection process for each item varies slightly depending on what material is left behind, but in each case the stems, leaves, husks, veins, etc. are collected and ground into pulp (similar to the traditional paper-making process) and formed into sheets. Some manufacturers solely use this agricultural or agro-industrial fiber, while others such as EcoPaper also mix their pulp with recycled post consumer fiber. Remember that from part one? PCW! Either way, it’s a big win in the fight to save a few trees!
Admittedly this is hardly mainstream, but I couldn’t help sharing! For the Ã¼berÂ unique ULTIMATE in going green.. some companies have gone the extra mile to harvest their tree-free fiber, by going where most would not dare to venture… poop. Sheep or reindeer anyone? Or maybe elephants are more your thing? Strange but true, and people have been taking note! To those germ-aphobes among you, don’t worry at all — everything has been thoroughly washed and naturally processed, rendering the final product wonderfully odor-free. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between any of these sheets, versus those handmade options above!
Now that we’ve covered paper… how about the ink? Stay tuned, that’s part three!