Could This Alternative Paper Uproot The Forest Industry?

Box of Step Forward Wheat Straw Paper

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Remember the paper-free future we were all promised when computers became a part of our daily lives? Suffice it to say, we’re not quite there yet (which is actually a good thing for old school, write-it-down types like me). In the meantime, between us and this magical future, paper continues to be an everyday need rather than a distant memory, so it makes sense to be exploring every possible option for its production in order to lessen the environmental impact of our paper-hungry world.

The first step towards greener paper was recycled paper, and it had a marked impact. 400 billion trees are cut down every year worldwide to meet our demands for paper products, and  choosing to make paper from 100% post-consumer waste instead takes a lot of pressure off of virgin forests.  Environmentalists estimate that each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees from being cut down.

This is a huge step in the right direction  ̶  the more paper we can claim back from the landfill and repurpose again, the better. But what if we could go a step further? What if we could get to a point where we could use paper that was 80% tree-free? And what if this point was now, rather than years into the distant, fabled paper-free future? Enter Woody Harrelson.

Woody Harrelson: Wheat-Based Paper Can Start Forest Industry RevolutionYes, seriously.

I know.

In one of the strangest, yet most heart-warming, celebrity endorsements I’ve ever come across, Harrelson has channeled his environmental awareness to become an outspoken advocate for Manitoba-based Prarie Paper Inc., manufacturer of the wheatbased Step Forward paper.  Here’s the low-down on why we should be paying attention to this revolutionary paper:

  • It’s made from 80% wheat straw waste gathered from the food grain harvest, and 20% FSC certified wood fibre
  • The wheat straw waste used to make Step Forward paper would typically have been disposed of by burning  ̶ instead it gets a new life!
  • Producing wheat-straw paper results in half the ecological footprint that conventional tree-based paper does.
  • Woody Harrelson. OK really, I can’t be the only one who has a bizarre crush on him, can I?

Now that Woody and I have convinced you  ̶  where do you go to purchase this magical wheat straw paper? Get a pen, I’m going to give you directions. There’s this Eco-store, OK? It’s 45 minutes away and tucked into a dimly lit alley. Wear 100% hemp.  The door is unmarked and you’ll need to knock three times, then once  ̶  the password is “Al Gore”. When they let you in, you can buy one package of paper at a time but  ̶  KIDDING! Kidding.

The best part is that StepForward paper sits right beside that other paper you’ve been buying your whole life, at major retailers like Staples and OfficeMax. No special trip required! Look for it next time you run out of printer paper, and you won’t be alone. Forward thinking companies like Lululemon, Habitat for Humanity,  Nature’s Path Organics, just to name a few, have already chosen to take a Step Forward, so you’ll be in good company.

If we can’t yet be paper-free, we can at least support tree-free paper. Do it for Woody.

Images courtesy of Step Forward paper

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Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.