Repap is a new paper designed from stone, instead of trees.
Every year, around 4 billion trees worldwide are cut down to make paper used in everything from books to office copy machines. Paper use has skyrocketed in the last 40 years, despite digital technology, and likely isn't going away soon. But what if paper could be easily made without trees?
Tree-free paper isn't new, but an Italian company has a new and interesting variation on the theme: paper made from stone. Technically, it's made from calcium carbonate, a natural by-product of limestone—an abundant material—and water. Repap (paper spelled backwards) is also waterproof, and can even be wiped clean.
The production process doesn't require any water, and the paper is naturally white, so it also doesn't have to be bleached and doesn't need strong acids. All of this means that the pollution associated with normal paper-making can be avoided. It's also easy to recycle, without the large amounts of water and energy that recycling usually uses. The material won't be made into new paper, but can be recycled into plastic products like flower pots and bags.
It's an interesting product. In some cases, it might even be more environmentally-friendly than using a digital tool, depending on the amount of energy used by something like a computer or e-reader.
Images courtesy of Ogami