Straw-Based Paper

VANCOUVER, CANADA—November 25, 2013—Award-winning environmental organization, Canopy, is celebrating another milestone in its decade-long campaign to make straw-based papers available to North American printers, publishers and markets. A new straw alternative to papers made from ancient and endangered forests is hitting the North American market. Four of Canopy’s leading printer partners, EarthColor, MPH Graphics, Hemlock and Plan It Green Printing are now offering Prairie Paper’s new Step Forward Paper Professional Grade 60 percent wheat straw uncoated folio sheet for use by book and magazine publishers and for marketing purposes.

Since 2003 Canopy has been educating publishers and printers about the benefits of straw-based paper as an alternative to virgin fiber from the world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests. Canopy has helped more than 350 businesses craft policy language to support research and development in the field. The Canopy team has worked with paper mills, printers, publishers and even a Nobel Prize winning author to explore and prove the feasibility of straw-based papers. The organization’s straw paper market survey verifies that there is now more than 1.2 million tons of annual demand for this alternative fiber, largely due to Canopy’s work.

Now, thanks to Prairie Paper’s work to develop and import paper from a mill in India, four of Canopy’s printing partners are able to make straw-based paper available to publishers and brands in diverse test markets across North America. Regions covered include New Jersey, New York, Texas, California, Toronto, Vancouver and Seattle. The Folio sheet is an important part of a longer-term plan by Prairie Paper to build a straw paper mill in Manitoba, creating local production capacity for straw pulp and papers.

North American production of straw papers has numerous social and environmental benefits. Straw papers carry half the ecological footprint of tree papers and have the potential to keep more than 180 million trees standing every year. It also promises to be the start of a green resource sector—sparking new green jobs and value-added revenue streams for farmers across the United States and Canada. For 10 years, Canopy has worked to confirm the viability and marketability of straw-based papers. The leading environmental organization has brokered straw paper development by partnering with publishers and authors to print limited edition of Nobel Laureate Alice Munro’s book, “Dear Life” (limited number of signed copies still available), Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” and Margaret Atwood’s “In Other Worlds” on papers containing wheat and flax straw, as well as a special edition of the prestigious magazine, Canadian Geographic. Canopy also helped behind the scenes to have Corporate Knights’ newly released wheat straw based issue printed at EarthColor and the company is pleased with the high-fidelity imagery on the straw-based paper.

Now Canopy is delighted to see its vision move one step closer to a reality that will help reduce the pressure on our planet’s ancient and endangered forests.

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