I saw an advert for this on TV which caught my interest about a kind of paper made from ground rocks:
Welcome to Rock Paper – Premium Paper that Rocks
In order to produce a metric ton of traditional wood pulp papers, an average of four metric tons of wood chips is utilised, which is the equivalent of felling approximately 23 large trees. Even so, this is merely the start of a long list of environmental costs of using traditional wood pulp paper.
Indeed, it is generally thought that no industry has forced more species into extinction, destroyed more natural habitats, and polluted as many streams, rivers, and lakes than the traditional pulp and paper industry. In essence, this industry is amongst the world’s largest generators of toxic air pollutants (in particular, the carcinogen dioxin), surface water pollution, sludge, and solid wastes.
Of the trees harvested globally for industrial uses, nearly half goes to pulp and paper production and, the demand for wood pulp remains insatiable. In light of the continuing trends, it has been estimated that only 5% of all tropical forests will remain by mid-century to the detriment of biodiversity. Even at the present, less than 20% of the world’s original forest cover remains intact, and much of what does remain is already threatened by commercial logging.
Although about 30% of the world’s wood pulp supply now comes from tree farms, by and large forest-harvested timber still dominates supply. In truth, even if artificial tree plantations have taken some pressure off deforestation, tree farms host about 90% fewer animal species than the natural forests that preceded them. Indeed, 1/3 of the world’s biodiversity has been irrevocably lost since 1970.
Of course, the traditional paper industry has actively promoted recycling in the hope to reduce deforestation and cut manufacturing costs. However, its environmental sustainability remains dubious due to a number of reasons. First, recycled papers need to be de-inked, de-lignified and cleaned, a laborious process which uses copious amounts of precious water and energy, produces a hazardous waste product, and pollutes the water supplies. Recycled pulp also often needs to be greatly bleached, more so than whiter/cleaner virgin pulp, causing another round of pollution. In essence, recycling paper causes similar environmental problems as using virgin pulp, save for the need to harvest more trees at the same level of demand. Hence, even if recycling does reduce the immediate pressure on mass deforestation, its production process still heavily impacts on the environment. Furthermore, as wood pulp is fibrous, traditional paper usually cannot be recycled more than a few times before the fibers completely break-down.
That the continual reliance on traditional wood pulp papers is environmentally unsustainable is not news.
Apparantly, depending on the type, it has a “large proportion” (whatever that means) of minerals such as calcium carbonate and will degrade back to dust if left, which is good for some things and bad for others. It can be waterproof going by the advert
I can’t find information on cost, and that’d be a crucial factor in it’s mainstreem use, maybe the decider. Even if it is expensive, I expect it will appeal to the eco-concious market. Production is probably on a small scale at the moment, which will push up prices, and a small business might not have the most energy efficient methods of rock-crushing, etc, so there’s a question over that.