When it comes to paper packaging, eco-friendly has become a trend that, for good reason, seems to be taking over. Consumers are far more aware of the environmental impacts of their purchases, opting more often for earth conscious packaging over plastic and non-recyclable materials. Manufacturers across North American are amending their processes to reduce their footprints, and improving the way things are done from the design stage through to final delivery.
As part of this drive for eco-friendly packaging, innovators are attempting to refine the process even further, looking for alternatives to reduce the overall impact. One such alternative? Wheat straw paper.
What is wheat straw paper? It is paper created using the straw left over after the food grain harvest is complete. This leftover straw, known as ‘agricultural residue,’ is typically disposed of by burning. However, when wheat straw paper is produced, instead of being disposed of, this material is used for that production, a potentially massive resource considering the 20 million acres of wheat grown in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Making paper with trees produces twice the ecological footprint compared to wheat straw – a major reason why this trend is set to make a massive impact over the next few years in North America.
Is this new technology? Not at all. Several other countries have been using straw to create paper for hundreds of years. In fact, 8-10% of the world’s paper is made from ‘agri-fibres,’ and China and India produce 20% of their paper using wheat straw, rice straw and sugar cane stocks. It has had a much slower uptake in North America though, but seems to finally be receiving the recognition it deserves.
So, is wheat straw paper saving forests? If it means less trees cut down, then yes, definitely. Is it the only way to do so? Of course not. Wheat straw paper manufacturing is still a niche market, so when you are looking to reduce your own footprint, here are some things to think about when sourcing a product packaging manufacturer:
- Use of flexo water based inks
- 100% of waste paper trim recycled, and pallet reconfiguration to reduce transportation waste
- Adherence to government regulations regarding BOD and suspended solids (well below those standards is ever better)
- Design techniques that pay attention to minimizing material and maximizing structural support
- Corrugated board material that is 100% renewable, recyclable and bio-degradable.
Every little bit counts, so making a conscious effort to find a manufacturer with a commitment to sustainability means you will also be doing your part.
Packaging Technologies Inc. is committed to sustainability, from the design stage right through to final delivery. Call us today for more information: 1-800-303-5883.