Current methods of making paper are often toxic, wasteful of water and energy, and terribly unsustainable. Recycling only goes so far; what's needed is an alternative method of making paper that is less-harmful to begin with. Papyrus Australia thinks they have that alternative: Banana Ply Paper.
Optimal parameters for an environmentally friendly but highly sustainable paper production industry include: Renewable raw materials: preferably a non-seasonal secondary fibre crop of which the BTT is a prime example given that it is cropped continually all year round; Low water usage: preferably none; Low energy usage: and preferably usage of renewable energy; Low levels of introduced chemical additives, preferably none; Low effluent discharge: preferably none, but with any discharge being non-toxic and non-pollutive.
Papyrus technology meets those criteria: BTT [Banana Tree Trunk, a waste product from banana farming] is the source of fibre; Production takes place amidst the plantations which reduces transport requirements and resultant pollution; No external water supply is used during the production process; Minimal amounts of energy are needed; There are no introduced chemical additives in the production process; No effluent is discharges or released into the environment: the only by-products are fluid (basically water) from the banana plant and off cuts usable as mulch which will be returned to the plantations from which supply of raw material is sourced.
What's more, production costs for banana paper are estimated to be less than one-fifth those of traditional pulp paper, and the capital investment costs just 3% of those required for pulp paper production. The big question: is there enough banana production to keep up with the global demand for paper?
(Thanks for the tip, David Chan)