29 Jun 2016
Spicers Paper tells us more about a spicy new thing called Rock Paper
- Tell us a little more about Spicers Singapore
Spicers was the very first paper merchant to introduce environmentally friendly paper, sourced from sustainably managed forests. We were the pioneers in the Green revolution of this industry and are still the strongest in this field as our commitment to the environment and sustainability has only grown ever since.
- As a paper merchant, what does Spicers do to make sure that their impact on the environment is kept to the minimum?
A large majority of our papers are sustainably sourced. This not only reduces the negative impact of paper on the environment, it actually helps forests to grow. On top of sustainable sourcing, we believe in educating the public on what they can do to make smarter paper choices. For example, we have done many sponsorships and presentations, even having tie-ups with the likes of Singapore Environment Council and Global Compact.
- How far along do you think Singapore is in terms of innovation with paper?
The print industry is changing rapidly and with it, new types of paper and print media are being introduced into the market. Singapore is no stranger to changing times and new technology, so the adjustments to new innovations are as quick as the increase in demand for high quality, fast turnaround printed products.
- Do you think the introduction of Rock Paper will revolutionise the paper industry and why?
The Rock Paper is just one example of a tree-free paper, but to have one made from stone is something new and previously unheard of. Furthermore, being uniquely photodegradable as well as able to be incinerated, this paper to be is able to minimise its impact on the environment compared to many other synthetic non-wood materials that occupy landfills. This is more than just an innovation for the paper industry; it’s progress for environmentally-friendly technologies and materials.
- What sets Rock Paper apart from its counterparts made from trees?
Besides being tree-free, The Rock Paper absorbs no water at all (as there is no paper in the product), is tear-resistant, fire retardant (it resists igniting into flames), insect resistant (as there is no organic material such as wood for insects to feed on) and FDA certified safe for food contact.
- While it is naturally manufactured from Calcium Carbonate (CaC03) powder, correct me if I’m wrong – I understand that a small amount of hyper-density polyethylene (HDPE), a Type 2 plastic, is used to keep the calcium carbonate together and give the end product the foldable quality of real paper. At the end of the photodegradable process, what happens to the plastic component of the paper?
Yes, The Rock Paper is made from CaCO3 and contains HDPE. However, this paper contains only 20 to 40% HDPE, as compared to 100% PE from plastics. The Rock paper will degrade into pieces, basically crumbling into tiny flakes. These little flakes that are left behind are the remaining PE, which, compared to plastics, is very small in quantity for the large amounts The Rock Paper that it came from. Alternatively, The Rock Paper can be incinerated as normal pulp paper is, but will produce 20% less CO2 emissions than pulp paper.
- Should Rock Paper be recycled under ‘Plastics’ or ‘Paper’?
It is categorised and recycled as PE material (plastics).
- What do you think are the products most suitable to be manufactured using Rock Paper due to its photodegradable nature?
Some applications for printing on this material include manuals, tags, maps, bibs, or other products that require waterproof or more durability than paper (i.e. tear resistant, flame retardant, oil resistant, bug resistant, etc.)
- Overall, even with the plastic component, should the use of Rock Paper be encouraged over felling trees for paper? Why?
As many may already be aware, responsible forest management for producing pulp and paper is one of the most sustainable practices and makes paper a truly renewable material. However, different print jobs have different requirements. The wood fibres of paper will have more bulk and less weight than stone. Synthetic PE papers, such as those used in digital printing have more heat resistance and durability than stone. In the case of The Rock Paper, we have a very hardy and durable product that is both soft and versatile. As no trees, no acid, no bleach, and minimal water were used, as well as having no exhaust, solid or water waste during production, The Rock Paper is a truly eco-friendly alternative to pulp paper.
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