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Chicago Company Launches Tree Free Paper

| Friday September 12th, 2008 | 28 Comments

UltraGreen.jpgCutting down on the use of paper is easy enough, but in spite of all your efforts you’ll never become 100% paperless. That’s where tree free paper comes in. Recently launched on the market by GPA, a Chicago paper company, Ultra Green paper is 100% tree free. And of equal importance; the paper is produced without any water. What more can you ask for? This paper is going to be a massive selling point for business leaders vying for deals. Not to speak of green design/advertising.


Ultra Green is made from inorganic mineral powders derived from limestone and calcium carbonate, with a trace amount of non-toxic resin and high density polyethylene (HDPE) as a binding agent. No chlorine is used.
Sounds too good to be true? There’s more! Ultra Green paper is also won’t yellow or become brittle no matter how long it’s exposed to sunlight. The paper is resistant to scuffing, water, grease and oils and can be used outdoors without being at risk from decomposing. Plus it offers antimicrobial protection and conforms to FDA standards for food contact! And due to the water and energy savings made in its manufacturing process, Ultra Green paper is priced 30 to 40% below than regular synthetic paper and film.
Replacing one ton of traditional paper with one ton of Ultra Green paper saves 20 trees, according to Environmental Defense’s paper calculator. It also eliminates 42 lbs of waterborne waste, 7,480 gallons water/wastewater, 167 lbs solid waste and 236 lbs carbon emissions. Energy savings amount to 25 million BTU.
GPA says that the paper combines the printability of a traditional paper product with the durability of a plastic sheet. It does not require special inks or manufacturing processes. This paper ought to be the invention of the year!


▼▼▼      28 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • Anonymous

    “The paper … can be used outdoors without being at risk from decomposing.” How is this safe for the environment? I call BS on this!!

  • Adrian

    “The paper … can be used outdoors without being at risk from decomposing.” How is this safe for the environment? I call BS on this!!

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    Have you ever seen limestone decompose?? It’s made from that stuff, dear.

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    I must say that when I first read this I was thinking someone was kidding me. But it’s the real deal.

  • Jordan

    Do the materials have to be mined, then? And is it recyclable?

  • Tetsuo

    Seems very cool but I don’t see a lot of information as to exactly what this entails. If this is really “Greener” then we need to know what how/when it breaks down, whether it’s recyclable, and what kind of process is used to create it. I don’t even see a link to the manufacturer, so this strikes me as a somewhat weak post.

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    Dear Tetsuo,
    FYI the very first link in the story links directly to the company. I have calls out to the company to see if it’s working on getting FSC certification and will likely get your questions about recycling answered. As for the breakdown of the paper – it’s 100% environmentally friendly. I have no reason to believe GPA would put its reputation at risk and lie here. What, in your opinion, constitutes a ‘strong’ post??
    Regards,
    Angelique van Engelen

  • Tetsuo

    Sorry, I didn’t realize that the first link was tot he company – their website could use some work. What I meant was – how are you defining “100% Environmentally Friendly” .. i mean, that really means nothing.
    Regular paper is “100% environmentally friendly” even if it consumes trees. It all depends on how those trees were grown, etc… this stuff might be fantastic, but it’s just a little light on information for me to start singing praises just yet. That’s all I meant.

  • hereitcomesagain

    This is clay-glazed Tyvek, essentially. If it does not degrade, which we are told it does not, then it is no better than plastic t-shirt bags which take forever to decompose. These sheets will be another contribution to the plastic sea in the N. Pacific gyre, and the plastic in landfills.
    And, of course the mineral content has to be mined. This is a classic attempt at greenwashing. Don’t fall for it.

  • hereitcomesagain

    Of course the mineral content has to be mined and shipped to the factory.
    What you are getting here is essentially clay-coated Tyvek. Clay coating of paper stock is nothing new — it accounts for the shine on magazine pages, for instance. If the material doesn’t bio-degrade, which we are told it does not, then it is no better than the plastic in store T-shirt bags that are being banned where there is any sense.
    This material will just be a perpetual contribution to landfills, and to the plastic soup in the North Pacific gyre.
    This is a greenwash, for my money.

  • Melissa Deaton

    The only thing I would like to know is if it does not decompose then how do you get rid of it? Sure it’s “tree-free” but can it be recycled? What’s the use of this product if all it’s going to do is fill up the land fills and pollute the earth in that way?

  • Melissa Deaton

    Oh and they are taking another natural resource that’s going to take even longer to get back…good job fellas! Why don’t we protest and only buy recycled products and make recycling a way of life. Make these companies plant two trees to every tree they cut down!

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    Dear Mellissa,
    I think that when it comes to a trade off between chopping down trees/using chlorine/wasting bulk amounts of water/producing bulk amounts of wastage that ends up in landfills AND giving this company a chance which uses limited chemical components that are not biodegradable, my money would be on the innovative company. At least until I wasn’t sure about the deal on recycling. For all you know now the paper might even be recyclable with a name like Ultra Green.
    I have put out calls to the company and am expecting to hear back from them any minute.

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    For all you know the amount of chemicals used or their detrimental effects might be less than the chlorine/chemicals used in the production of regular paper.
    The more I think about it the more I like the stuff. Especially because of the tree factor.

  • Ellen

    Be careful! HDPE is a type of plastic. Where does plastic come from? Petroleum. Hmmmm? Don’t we have a supply and demand problem with that stuff?

  • Anonymous

    Another important point to consider is this:
    If this new “paper” enters the recycling cycle (via recycling bins for example), how is it going to affect the recycling process if you try to mix it with regular fiber-based paper?

  • Mark in Edmonton

    Very good points – don’t forget to add end of life disposal – this plastic product get driven out of town, processed and then sit’s in a landfill (carbon sequestration?) whereas paper goes in my composter and feeds my flowers.

  • Greg Kestler

    I was flattered that Angelique copied and pasted our Ultra Green Tree Free Paper sale sheet on this website and commented on its appeal as a green alternative to paper or synthetic paper. I’m not at all surprised with the responses it received. When it comes to environmental issues, and especially items that use this sensitive topic to promote themselves, there are plenty of critics ready to raise their hand and cry foul.
    The environmental impact of Ultra Green has everything to do with the manufacturing process, not the recycling of it. At no time did GPA indicate that we are presenting to our customers a product that will revolutionize the recycling or disposal of printed matter as we know it. There is no silver bullet in this area. Printers nor their suppliers can be held responsible for the recycling of the printed materials that are produced, paper or plastic. Items that end up in landfills do exactly that- fill our land with stuff. Ultra Green is comprised of 20% HDPE (high density polyethylene)that can be recycled. The recycling of Ultra Green has the same challenges as recycling efforts of paper or synthetic papers that it may replace on a given print campaign. In my opinion, recycling efforts as a whole fall way too short. The truth of the matter is Ultra Green when used as a substitute for paper has a positive influence on the environment, as Angelique stated in her article. It saves trees, water, and energy as compared to the manufacturing of paper. Synthetic papers such as Tyvek, Yupo, and other polypropylene or polyethylene based products, are solely derived from petrochemicals which makes Ultra Green an ecological choice. Oh and by the way the paper manufactures in the U.S. have been replanting trees for over 75 years. Forest land has increased 10% since 1920, despite a 143% increase in population, so don’t bash the paper companies for not doing their part, they just use water and harsh chemicals to make their products and produce water-born waste in the process.
    Ultra Green is not a miracle product that will make all other substrate alternatives obsolete, it’s just an alternative substrate that offers a greener process to produce. As far as it being 80% calcium carbonate (limestone) and how were depleting another natural resource hmmmm… The earths crust is comprised of 15% limestone and limestone is the 5th most abundant element on earth.
    I would caution everyone to be on the alert in these times as marketing “Going Green” seems to be the in thing to do. It’s all in how you spin it, after all it’s not so new, how do you think the explores got anyone to want to travel northwest from Iceland it was easy they simply called the new place Greenland.

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    Thank you Greg, that clarifies a lot. Mind you, I did not ‘copy and paste’ anything besides the quotes. Once more; I am convinced this is a winner and I think it deserves some sort of award.

  • http://amplifiedgreen.wetpaint.com/ angelique van engelen

    HH, still laughing about that last line. Really Greg, do let me know if you need help with your marketing. I’d love to sophisticate things up for you!!

  • http://www.labelimpressions.com jeff salisbury

    Interesting paid advertisement. Interesting posts. Stone papers are not new- this stuff has been around for over 7 years. Calcium carbonate has been used in paper for hundreds of years. What IS new is the use of this material in labels and packaging. I don’t know about this ultra green film but I do know about FiberStone‚Ñ¢ tree-free paper made from stone. For answers about stone paper/rock papers such as FiberStone‚Ñ¢ you can go to http://www.naturalsourceprinting.com/fiberstone or google FiberStone tree-free paper. The answers you all seek are there, and if they are not just e-mail me: (Jeff Salisbury) jeff@labelimpressions.com. I’ll be happy to give you the skinny on stone paper.

  • jessica

    FiberStone paper is FSC certified by the way.
    However, pardon my ignorance, but does limestone grow or is it manufacturable? I ask this because regardless if it’s the 5th largest resource on earth (as stated earlier), if all of us jump on the limestone-train this plentiful resource will eventually deplete. This is not a progressive tree-free, nor sustainable resource in the least if it just endangers a different resource! Can anyone clarify this for me?
    Thanks!

  • Carlos

    Where can this paper be purchased for commercial Printing?

  • Ilene Klinghoffer

    I am the printing production manager at a large company, and I think this paper is bogus. It CANNOT be recycled. When we asked about that, we were told that it will decompose in landfills just like regular paper. In other words, not very quickly if it’s not on the surface. We asked about the amount of energy required to break down the stone component into dust, and we received a nonanswer that didn’t address the question. We used this stock for a while before we did the research on it, but we will not be using it again

  • chris

    I'm not convinced either way. I saw this paper in Walgreens yesterday and thought it was really cool. It looks and feels good and I thought is sounded authentic. But I also question the sustainability of LimeStone and other processes required to produce it anyway. I could be cynical and say F-It, the world is beyond repair anyway, especially when one considers the population is doing nothing but exploding. But that's not a good attitude to have because it will only hasten the process of the Earth's destruction. So I do what I can to make help the world hang in there a few more years. Does that make any difference, absolutely not. The conglomerates and the greed of the Capitalistic economic system is killing our mother Gaia. They're only in it for profit, in fact that's the only way they'll be successful in this system. People are not going to buy stock in a company if it isn't going to produce profits. That's just the way it is. On that note, our most pressing issue is which paper to use; it is to bring the Corporations under strict regulations. However, with the Supreme Courts recent ruling, which opened the flood gates for corporations to pour money into certain campaigns and elections, I think we're doomed. Either way, I am still going to do more research before I buy any of the supposedly awesome paper. (Well, I might just buy one note book because it's super cool!)

    • Chris

      I meant our most pressing issue is “not” which paper to use

  • chris

    I'm not convinced either way. I saw this paper in Walgreens yesterday and thought it was really cool. It looks and feels good and I thought is sounded authentic. But I also question the sustainability of LimeStone and other processes required to produce it anyway. I could be cynical and say F-It, the world is beyond repair anyway, especially when one considers the population is doing nothing but exploding. But that's not a good attitude to have because it will only hasten the process of the Earth's destruction. So I do what I can to make help the world hang in there a few more years. Does that make any difference, absolutely not. The conglomerates and the greed of the Capitalistic economic system is killing our mother Gaia. They're only in it for profit, in fact that's the only way they'll be successful in this system. People are not going to buy stock in a company if it isn't going to produce profits. That's just the way it is. On that note, our most pressing issue is which paper to use; it is to bring the Corporations under strict regulations. However, with the Supreme Courts recent ruling, which opened the flood gates for corporations to pour money into certain campaigns and elections, I think we're doomed. Either way, I am still going to do more research before I buy any of the supposedly awesome paper. (Well, I might just buy one note book because it's super cool!)

  • Chris

    I meant our most pressing issue is “not” which paper to use