The big surprise: Trees were not used to make paper until 150 years ago.
Papermaking is a 2000 year old technology. Before it was made out of trees, it was made out of old clothes in the west (just as the dollar bill is today), and numerous other plant fibers in the east (for example, the mulberry bush in Japan).
Paper can be made from about 500 different plant fibers: including sugar cane, linen, hemp, kanef, and corn stalk. It is still made from old clothes (fine European handmade papers are made from rag – Indian handmade paper is made from cloth scrap from the garment industry).
So what makes a paper ‘eco’ exactly? Good question. 100% post consumer paper is very earth-friendly. The more we can all use 100% post consumer recycled paper, the more giant paper mills will make it. Right now, about 55% of paper still goes to landfill. Much of the remaining reclaimed fiber gets shipped to other countries. Wouldn’t it be great if more US mills retooled to make postconsumer recycled paper? Right now, just a few do. One of the tasks at hand is to make markets for post consumer recycled paper. Right now, it is an extremely tiny market segment.
We incorporate lots of fun papers made from post harvest waste: mango leaves, sugar cane, other leaf and grass fibers. These papers help keep the fiber from getting dumped in rivers or being burned. Using these papers also creates new markets and keeps small mills and rural cottage industries going.
Invitesite’s founders have specialized in fine and treefree papers since 1995. Founder Scott Rubel has been a fine artisan letterpress printer for about 20 years. The founders have both made one of their life’s work helping to convert paper use from virgin trees to sustainable fibers and methods.
You can learn more about the history of papermaking here>>
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