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Paper Stone: Stone Paper

Paper beats rock?

It may seem impossible, but today we can write directly on sheets that look like paper but are actually made from stone powder, precisely calcium carbonate, held together by high-density polyethylene.

Stone paper is primarily composed of calcium carbonate (waste stone, marble, and tiles). The powdered calcium carbonate (80%) is mixed with non-toxic high-density polyethylene (20%) to create white beads the size of candies. In a completely dry process that does not involve the use of acids, bleach, or water, the beads are compressed to obtain a material that resembles traditional paper.

It's tear-resistant, infinitely recyclable (unlike cellulose paper, which can be recycled only 7 times), with lower ink absorption (30% less) during printing, water-resistant, and photodegradable. Moreover, during processing stages, approximately 50% less energy is consumed compared to traditional or recycled paper production.

It's 100% hydrophobic. Liquids, including oil, do not alter its structure as it does not contain wood fibers that absorb liquids, even small drops, and deform the product, destroying traditional paper in a matter of seconds. That's why it's so durable over time.

No chemical treatments are needed. In the production of traditional papers, many chemical substances are required both to bleach natural fibers and to prevent light from fading the paper, as is the case with newspapers, for example. To produce Stone Paper, on the other hand, no chemical products are needed: the materials used are already white in origin, and high-density polyethylene is colorless.

Stone Paper combines the advantages of paper, being easily printable, and biodegradable plastic as it decomposes without polluting the environment within 9-12 months.

Summarizing the environmental impact characteristics:

To produce 1000 kg of traditional paper, 35,000 liters of water are needed, of which approximately 2770 liters are consumed without the possibility of reuse. Producing 1000 kg of Stone Paper instead saves the amount of water needed for 50 people for one month.

The energy saved by stone paper is equivalent to the consumption of a year and a half of an average family. Thanks to the type and high efficiency of the production process, only 860 kWh are needed to produce 1000 kg of Stone Paper, while traditional paper requires 5670 kWh.

The carbon footprint, i.e., the carbon footprint of Stone Paper, is 67% lower than that of traditional paper: for a ton of Stone Paper, CO2 emissions are 482 kg, while those of traditional paper are 1431 kg. Using Stone Paper, the reduction in carbon footprint for 1000 kg of paper is equivalent to 4520 km traveled by car: the distance between Naples and the North Cape.

To produce 1000 kg of traditional paper, 18 trees are needed, while no trees are cut down to produce Stone Paper.

In light of this data, in the game of rock-paper-scissors, paper will continue to beat rock, but in the paper industry and from an environmental impact perspective, stone paper beats traditional paper.

Not just Paper Stone: every day, more and more alternatives to wood pulp paper are being created, using a wide range of materials such as cotton clothes, fruit, algae, and herbivore dung.

We delve into this topic in the article. Materiali con cui fare la carta (alternativi agli alberi). 

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