Creapaper’s innovation is to introduce a new, sustainable and cost-efficient raw material for the paper industry as third pillar besides wood pulp and recycled fibre: Grass Fiber!
After cutting and sun drying the grass, the hay is gathered at Creapaper’s regional production site. Low growing plants contain only a small amount of lignin, and can be processed mechanically, without any chemicals, with only a fraction of process water and energy demand. The Grass Fibers are then compacted into pellets or square bales. In this form, the product can be transported and handled easily, and the paper mill can directly use the compacted Grass Fibers in its conventional paper production process. Therefore, Grass Fiber is mixed with virgin wood fibres according to the recipe for the desired paper type. Currently, Grass Paper is available with a Grass Fiber share up to 50% and hence significantly reduces the amount of expensive wood pulp and the dependency on its import.
In contrary to trees, grass regrows quickly after cutting and can be harvested from regional grasslands, which are not applicable for intensive agriculture. Instead of importing logs and transporting it over huge distances, with all the environmental and climate issues, a locally available and sustainable resource is used. No farmland is lost, no monocultures are deployed and the demand for grass can be met by grasslands within a 100km radius around the paper mill.
The CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 75% by this highly efficient and clean process and by the short transportation.
In case of food packaging, recycled fiber as raw material is a problem with current and upcoming regulations on mineral oil migration from printing ink into the foodstuff. Until now, paper made of 100% virgin wood fiber or additional barrier foils were the only options. Both are expensive and have a negative impact on the environment and hence on the environmental brand image.
The key benefits of Grass Fiber compared to wood pulp and recycled fibers for paper production are:
- Cost-efficient (350€ per tonne Grass Fiber instead of currently more than 1,000 € per tonne wood pulp)
- Resource efficient processing
- Energy demand of 134 kWh per tonne Grass Fiber is 6 times lower than for wood pulp and 1.5 times lower than for recycled fiber
- 2 litres industrial water per tonne Grass Fiber (reduction by factor 3,000 to wood pulp)
- Environmental friendly / Positive environmental brand image
- CO2 emissions are reduced by 75% compared to wood pulp and by 26% for recycled fiber
- Soil acidification potential is reduced by factor 18 for wood pulp (factor 5 for recycled fiber)
- No chemicals are necessary for processing, only mechanical processing
- Deforestation and transformation of forests into monocultures is reduced