Stone Paper vs Traditional Paper - What's the difference?
Karst’s stone paper is an alternative to wood pulp paper that offers a superior writing experience and multiple environmental benefits. We don’t expect stone paper to completely replace the traditional pulp paper industry—after all, there are times where some of the properties of traditional paper are an asset. What we do hope is for consumers and industries to change the attitude that refuses to question and innovate, starting from where we write down our ideas. We make positive impacts on the earth by thoughtfully considering our small everyday decisions, starting with what kind of paper we use.
Our hope is that your notebook can serve as a foundation to do more and create more, responsibly.
Materials - So what is our stone paper made from?
Karst’s stone paper, as the name suggests, is made from stone. But we never mine the earth for the stone used in our production process. Instead, we use waste marble and limestone from nearby construction industry facilities and recycle it into paper, instead of letting it sit forever in a landfill. Therefore, stone paper is made from recycled materials and is itself recyclable. The scientific term for our main material is Calcium Carbonate, which is one of the most abundant naturally occurring substances on earth. To learn more, check out Our Materials page.
On the other hand, traditional paper is made from trees or is recycled from existing paper, which comes from 2 primary types of forests: fast-growing lumber tree farms, and logged native forests. Logging native forests has obvious downsides -- when trees indigenous to an area are felled, it destroys the habitat of wildlife. This disrupt’s that area’s ability to store carbon until new trees and vegetation regrow. Not to mention, logging has one of the highest fatality rates of any job on the planet.
While native farms once felled are sometimes left alone to slowly regrow and recover, many are converted into tree farms. Tree farms claim to be beneficial for the environment by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere with their fast-growing trees, but they compromise biodiversity by planting non-native trees and have adverse long-term effects on ecology, even changing whole nations as in the case of Uruguay. Research from Australian National University contained in their Green Carbon Report suggests that unlogged, native forests store three times more carbon than that of tree farms. Seems better to leave them alone altogether, don't you think?
Karst's stone paper saves significant amounts of water!
Karst's stone paper uses significantly less water to produce than regular paper. Each metric tonne of stone paper requires 27 gallons of water, which is circulated in a closed system and reused.
In comparison, those 27 gallons of water would make only 9 A4 sheets of traditional printer paper. About 15.5 thousand gallons of water are necessary to make 1 metric tonne of traditional paper. For 1 metric tonne of paper made with recycled pulp paper, about 5.8 thousand gallons are required. This is significantly less than making virgin paper, but remember that recycled material is dependent upon virgin the existence of virgin materials.
Waste production & recyclability
When making traditional paper, it’s not possible to convert absolutely 100% of a tree into paper. Even when making traditional paper from recycled material, solid waste is produced. To make one metric tonne of traditional paper, over 150 kilograms of solid waste is produced. When making traditional paper from recycled materials, there is even more solid waste (190 kg), as recycled paper contains more impurities. While it is possible to recycle paper multiple times, there is a finite limit— it can only be recycled a maximum of 5 to 7 times.
When making stone paper, the waste and scraps that are produced come from end cuts from rounding out the corners of pages or test batches. Much like the closed-circuit water system, stone paper produces no solid waste as the scraps can be recycled into more stone paper in the next batch. Unlike traditional paper, stone paper can be recycled indefinitely.
While the cellulose in plant fibres becomes compromised when processed multiple times, calcium carbonate remains intact, meaning it can be recycled over and over again.
Energy use and carbon emissions
We take carbon emissions seriously. So seriously that we’re neutral.
It takes a lot of energy to process timber trees into the pages of a notebook. In fact, in order to produce a metric tonne of traditional paper, almost 6 times more energy is required than stone paper.
We use solar energy to power the development of our paper. Karst’s stone paper has a 60% smaller carbon footprint than regular paper.
But making our carbon footprint smaller is not enough— we need to neutralise it altogether. We invest in carbon offsets to make sure nothing we do is at the expense of the planet. This is done with a partnership with Carbon Neutral. Click here to learn more!
So how does stone paper feel to use?
Because our stone paper contains no plant fibres, there is no grain direction to the paper. Instead, pens slide across the pages with less friction, allowing for a fluid and effortless writing experience. Stone paper is also much harder to tear—it stretches before it tears. Think of the grain of a sheet of paper almost as tiny perforations that guide a tear. Since stone paper has no grain, the material is much stronger.
Another unique aspect of stone paper that differs from traditional paper is its waterproof property. It makes sense—stones aren’t exactly absorbent, and so stone paper should be no different. This means that your important reminders and ideas no longer risk being ruined by a waving hand or sudden weather change. While there is a time and place for paper that is absorbent, this no longer needs to be the default.
Do you have any more questions about stone paper? To learn more, check out:
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