01 Dec 2011

Written by

Joan Marc

Gaiakraft: Beyond paper recycling?

Waste Policy

Few years ago paper and cardboard recycling was regarded as a big step in closing the loop of materials, yet what back then was a big improvement now it has the potential of going further. Paper recycling is a no-brainier now but there are new alternatives that are a lot more environmentally friendly.

Following the idea that the best waste is the waste that doesn’t exist; the best paper waste is the paper that is not produced in the first place. I.e. the inmaterialisation of the use. The concept of paperless office is a widespread reality, more and more people read the news and books on electronic platforms which are reducing the amount of newspapers, more and more cardboard packaging is being reduced… the use of paper supports can be reduced dramatically. However, it is still hard to imagine a world without paper.

The raw resource of wood pulp are trees. Both deforestation and dedicated tree plantations have shown its negative impacts not only on the environment but also on local economies. To make 1 ton of paper you need 20 trees, 60000 litres of water and a good amount of chemicals. Paper recycling is great because it reduces tree-logging yet it is a technology that is intensive in water and bleach use and hence it generates water waste and carbon emissions.

Therefore it would be necessary to work out a system that minimises water and chemicals use and emissions. And this is what the company Gaiakraft has done.

Gaiakraft has developed a system that should leave trees alone for a while and save good deal of water, emissions and chemicals. GaiaKraft bags and packaging is made from paper that comes from mineral powder (calcium carbonate) meaning it is tree-free! This tree-free paper differs from traditional paper in that it is made from a high percentage of mineral powder and a small percentage of non-toxic resin. What’s more is that the process used to make the paper uses no water or bleach like traditional wood pulp paper.

GaiaKraft is water-resistant and being a tree-free paper and essentially fibreless, it does not absorb ink and therefore prints with 20-30% less ink as compared to traditional wood-pulp paper.

GaiaKraft is degradable and due to its high mineral content safely degrades when left out in nature over a period of 6 to 9 months.

Less deforestation, no water or bleach use, no toxins released, degradable, recyclable, less emissions, water resistant, uses less ink… Gaiakraft paper looks like a step forward for the future of our forests and rivers but also for the implementation of Zero Waste strategies!