Paper made out of limestone – Stone Paper – Production and properties of environmentally friendly paper substitutes

One would think that stone and paper would not fit together. However, the game “Rock, Paper, Scissor”, in which stone and paper are opponents, has changed a lot. Stonepaper is an innovative material, which can replace conventional paper due to its properties and is used as an ecological alternative for many applications, even for plastic. Stone paper is a sustainably produced substitution product to regular paper.

“Paper” might be a misleading term regarding this context because paper is associated with trees, wood and cellulose. Stone Paper, or Rock Paper, as being the product made out of the so-called limestone flour, does not contain any cellulose! Shortly: Stone paper is not paper, but consists of up to 80% limestone and 20% additives. Therefore this treeless alternative would have to be correctly described as paper alike. A very informative contribution was produced by Südwestrundfunk (SWR): Insider tip Stone paper: No trees felled, no drinking water consumed.

Stone paper is made out of powdered limestone (calcium carbonate). This type of paper is more tear-resistant than conventional paper, even at low grammages. Moreover this material is extremely hard-wearing. Additionally, the flame retardant material is water-resistant, as well. Since neither wood fibres nor water are needed in the production process, stone paper is a sustainable and environment-friendly material. It also convinces with its noble and velvety feel. Due to its stability, it can also be described as rockboard.

Cradle-to-cradle: a sustainable substitution product is made out of two products only

Calcium carbonate (CaCo3) is a naturally occurring raw material which is available in almost inexhaustible quantities. The lime powder used for the production of stone paper is usually a waste product from quarries. This means that the quarry waste does not have to be mined separately, but can be processed immediately according to the cradle-to-cradle* principle. The environmental friendly ecological binder, which is added to one fifth to the mineral powder, is also a waste product being used for the production of stone paper. The ecological binder gives strength to the paper alike material. This thermoplastic bio-plastic can e.g. be obtained from sugar cane waste.

The substitution product consists of 80% stone powder and 20% organic plastic. The two materials are blended and pressed together under great pressure and processed into paper webs. During the patented manufacturing process neither bleaching agents nor acids, bases or fluorescent chemicals are used and not even a single tree is cut down. The energy requirement is only half as great as of the conventional cellulose paper. Compared to virgin fibre paper, there is also no residue or waste during processing. As a result,”paper” made of stone and being a sustainable alternative is now playing an increasingly important role in the manufacture of promotional items.

Stone Paper has been developed in the late 1990s in East Asia, where it is still produced today. In Asia and the USA, paper substitutes are already widely used. In Germany, the distribution and use of this miracle material is still very young, but above all, it is becoming more and more popular, especially in the field of ecological carrier bags.

Rock Paper offers a wide range of uses

The classic use of eco-paper as a carrier bag is an ideal advertising medium for environmentally conscious companies. In addition, the paper without cellulose is also suitable for the manufacture of countless other products due to its positive properties. These include gift boxes, playing cards, calendars, notepads, posters and posters.

Stone paper is printable, as well. Offset printing and UV printing are suitable for this purpose. During the printing process, less ink is needed compared to other materials. Since the product is virtually fibre-free, extremely sharp images can be produced. Inkjet printers are less suitable for Stone Paper as well as laser printers; here it depends on the special printer. The latter often develops too much heat, causing the paper to warp. For inkjet printers it can be possible that the special paper absorbs the ink like a blotting paper.

On the ecological paper one can also write with a pen or pencil. This opens up a completely new writing sensation, as the paper is finer than traditional paper. Thereby, the pencil floats above the velvety surface. When liquid reaches to its surface, it can easily be rinsed under water, dried and the paper can be rewritten. So, coffee stains were yesterday.

Advantages of rock paper regarding other packaging materials

Characteristics Stone Paper
Plastic Paper Fabric
Sustainable Production

Stone paper (also: stonepaper) has numerous advantages over other packaging materials and basic materials for promotional products.

In direct comparison with the paper carrier bag, the advantage of the modern material can be impressively proven by figures:

For the production of 1,000 bags made out of stone paper

…. about 45 EFM (harvest meters (without bark and root) are used) wood degradation is avoided – that is approx. 1,600 m² area of boards (5.63 EFM per tree x 20 trees for 1 ton of paper)

…. chlorine oxide or ozone, peroxoacetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are saved during processing of wood (depending on the operation).

The per capita consumption of wood in Germany currently amounts to 250 kg each year

The balance is similarly good regarding water consumption: 60,000 litres of this valuable resource are needed for 1 ton of conventional paper – for only 1,000 bags with a total weight of around 400 kg, this corresponds to a saving of 24,000 litres of water!

With pleasure we will send you samples of our products and our experienced team is pleased to answer any occuring questions. Order ecological advertising material made of stone paper here directly.