Paper is one of the most wasted materials on the planet. Even worse than the fact that we use it flippantly and recycle only a small portion is the fact its made from one of the most precious resources we have: trees. Despite the push to go paperless, it’s unlikely that paper will disappear from society any time soon. An Italian company has engineered a material that could bridge the gap in the meantime.
Repap (paper spelled backwards) turns stone, an inert and abundant material, into paper that’s not only a worthy substitute for what we know now, it’s even better.
Now, although it’s billed as a paper made from stone, it’s not exactly pebbles flattened into a tablet. Repap is made up of 80% calcium carbonate (CaCO) and a small percentage, 20%, from non-toxic resins (high intensity polyethylene).
According to the company, the calcium carbonate present in Repap comes from the limestone recovered from caves and used in the construction industry. The calcium carbonate is reduced to a fine powder and the polyethylene acts as a binder. The resulting paper-like material is resistant and durable, as well as waterproof, a huge advantage over tree-based paper.
As GOOD points out, Repap’s production process doesn’t require any water, and the paper is naturally white, so it also doesn’t have to be bleached and doesn’t need strong acids.” The result is an entire lifecycle that’s better for the planet and keeps more trees growing and absorbing carbon, like they should be.