Stone paper: revolution or simple alternative?

Today, we invite you to find out more about this unusual “paper” which represents a real novelty in the world of printing. To do so, we have asked our experts for their opinion but also carried out some tests at the agency to really go further than the simple presentation of “Stone Paper”. Resistance, printing, resistance… we compared the performance of “normal” paper (left) with a similar weight to the stone paper used (right).

What is “Stone Paper”?

It’s already a nice name that has a very “friendly” side to it and that somehow marks the change from its predecessors whose names are sometimes a little rough and cold. It’s also a paper distributed by people from Brittany and for us from Nantes it’s important! However, the technique comes from Taiwan and it is Pascal Parmentier who, near Quimper, decided to develop his start-up around this project.

An ecological paper

Paper is a resource that requires a phenomenal amount of water for its creation. It is estimated that it takes 500 litres of water and 2 to 3 kilos of wood to make 1 kg of paper. To be as accurate as possible, “normal” paper is pulp (water and fibres), mineral fillers (marble/calcium carbonate and kaolin) and glues (alum and rosin). Paper is also bleached with chlorine or derivatives, which is an extremely polluting product.

Stone paper claims to be a paper that is created from waste! Recovered on building sites, these are simply stones coming straight from the construction industry! Another part comes from quarries and the whole thing is crushed until a powder is obtained, a bit like talcum powder. It is calcium carbonate which is an element that is mainly found in limestone rocks (tuffeau, faluns). These rocks are very friable, erode easily and are present in large quantities in nature.

Moreover, the calcium carbonate that composes it makes it naturally white, so there is no need for bleach. In addition to this powder, a non-toxic polypropylene resin binds it together. The only use of water is for cooling the machines, so it is in a closed circuit and is constantly recycled and reused.

The mineral paper thus claims not to release any toxic product when burnt and would decompose by itself under the effect of light. The sheet decomposes, gradually resembling an eggshell, the resin is absorbed by the atmosphere without any harmful effects, the CaCO3 degrades and returns to a powdery state (we didn’t have time to test so we’ll take their word for it).

Of course, we can only encourage the reduction of paper consumption by using it in a reasoned way. Because producing paper has an environmental cost, printing it has another, recycling it has yet another.

Resistant and waterproof paper

The sheet of stone is a bit like Yupo (plastic) – even if the composition is not the same – it can give you an idea of its resistance as well as its aspect! There are several little things…

The first is that the paper is not folded properly. Indeed, like plastic, it tries to return to its original shape. With cellulosic paper, it is thanks to the broken fibres that a fold remains in place. Often, however, the paper is cracked after folding. This is not the case here as the fibre is replaced by powder. Stone paper, on the other hand, tends to deform without cracking or tearing. It is almost “tear-proof”, in fact, it becomes brittle as soon as a small cut is made, but it deforms well before it really “cracks”. Afterwards, on the other hand, it can be cut very well and cleanly. It is also extremely pleasant to cut with scissors.

A paper that doesn’t cut, really?

It’s not that we were afraid of reprisals after all that, but it’s a real argument from the stone-paper company to say that this paper doesn’t cut! And indeed HervĂ©, our faithful printer, confirms that it often happens to get hurt. We wanted to see that and as we didn’t dare on our fingers (because it still hurts a lot) we decided to take an eraser. To be honest, the sheet of stone cut it but more under pressure than by cutting, whereas normal paper really cut the head off our eraser.

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