List of sustainable alternatives to wood pulp paper

From papyrus to animal skin to paper, inscribing thoughts on paper has evolved over the years! But now it’s time to look for alternatives to wood pulp paper.

No matter how advanced technologies we have or how fast we move ahead with digitization, we can’t ignore the fact that we still rely on paper. From printing currencies to making cartons, paper is in demand, and to meet this demand, millions of trees have to be cut down.

But as we said, technologies are advancing, so why do we still follow the same old paper making process? Why don’t we shift to alternatives to wood pulp paper?

How is conventional paper made?

Cellulose is a major component used to make paper, and this cellulose fibre is extracted from hard wood and converted to pulp. The pulp is then combined with water, placed on moulds or modern day machineries to be dried and flattened into sheets.

Today, the majority of paper is made from fresh fibres or from recycled material. Recycled paper can be cited as a better option, but it has its own drawbacks.

So let’s see what other alternatives to conventional pulp paper exist.

What are the sustainable alternatives to wood pulp paper?

Agricultural residue, fibre crops, and waste paper can be used as sustainable alternatives to wood pulp paper. Read about the products here-

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is the grass of the future, the most useful product to replace wood in every use. The bamboo pulp for paper is usually made by sulphate digestion process.

Low cost is induced while using bamboo to make paper, and also it offers high tearing strength.

2. Bagasse

Bagasse is the leftovers from the sugarcane after the juice has been extracted. Rich in cellulose and being a waste product, bagasse offers the most sustainable alternative to wood pulp paper. It can be used to make paper to make cartons or to make paper for printing, writing, or tissues.

3. Kenaf

The Kenaf plant is grown majorly in South America, China, and parts of Italy for fiber. Kenaf pulp’s physical strength is similar to that of hardwood and can easily be used to make paper. It replenishes the soil where it is grown and also grows up to 18 feet in 4-5 months. Kenaf is still being explored to see the possibilities of where else it can be used.

4. Sisal

Sisal fibres can be used to make high quality papermaking pulp. It has high cellulose content, high tear resistance and high porosity. Sisal can be an optimal choice as one of the alternatives to wood pulp paper.

5. Grass

grass paper, how paper is made from grass

Grass is found in abundance, and paper made from grass consumes less water and energy for production as compared to wood pulp. Grass paper also contains wood pulp in some percentage but is still a better option as compared to one completely made from wood.

Other options that exist to make paper

6. Cotton paper

Cotton is durable and strong and is presently being used to print currency notes. But being costlier than wood, cotton is not a viable option. Cotton cultivation heavily consumes water and also degrades soil quality. Such factors don’t make cotton a reliable alternative.

7. Stone paper

Powdered stone rich in calcium carbonate, clubbed with high-density polyethylene resin, is used to make stone paper. The alternate to wood paper is not biodegradable and cannot be preferred as the sustainable option to conventional paper.