Preparation Of Agricultural Fiber
Making Ecological Tree Free and Acid-Free Paper
Editorial and Converting Processes
Our Beautiful and Useful Products
Some Important Terms
About Ecopaper and Costa Rica Natural
Primary Mission: To restore and improve the intelligent universe by promoting the interests, and serving the needs, of humanity and the natural world.
Social Mission: We recognize the role our business plays in society by improving the quality of life locally, nationally, and globally. We support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice. We believe resources are more productively used in meeting human needs than in building and maintaining weapons systems. Even if we disagree, we love you anyway. Sharing peace and love is our primary purpose.
Product Mission: We make, distribute, and sell only the finest environmental papers. We are continually committed to the use of wholesome natural ingredients, and we promote business practices that respect humanity, Earth, and the environment. We strive to minimize, and eventually counteract, any negative impact on the environment.
Economic Mission: We operate using sustainable financial practices, increasing both value and profits for our shareholders while expanding opportunities for development and growth. We Restore and Improve wherever we go, offering fair wages and work practices, both domestically and abroad.
Regarding environmental degradation, the 20th century has been the worst in history. The effects are only comparable to the disaster that caused the extinction of dinosaurs. The causes are, among others, the industrial and technological progress, the exponential growth of the world population, lack of legislation and commitment by individuals and institutions. It is expected that for the 21'st century, the world population will be eleven billion people. Globalization and the ever growing demand for food have increased the impact of human activity over the environment. The impact on rivers, the land, seas, and forests and in all ecosystems in general, will be greater. It is important to remember that our planet is a very sensitive and vulnerable system and all that happens in one part of the world has a severe impact in another part.
Awareness of this situation should make us compromise in a personal way and induce us to shift away from consumption habits that effect the environment so strongly. If we all collaborate, we can implement a system of sustainable development which will allow us to inherit our children and grand-children the chance to a good quality life, with satisfaction no lesser that we have had.
We are obliged to at least allow future generations to enjoy rivers and seas that are clean, pure air, abundant forests and the company of species that are in threat of extinction, such as whales, manatees, tigers and parrots.
If it doesn't have the Ecopaper or Costa Rica Natural Logo, it's not certified Banana Paper. We are the only one's with the rights to use the term "Banana Paper". Please be aware of imitations.
Traditional Paper Industry
The paper industry represents two percent of the world commerce and the demand increases every day. Paper still is the main form of communication among people, especially in the education field. It also has an infinite number of industrial uses, among which we can mention those related with packing and health care.
The cellulose and paper industry uses around one third of total production of wood and this proportion is increasing. Two thirds of the fiber used to make paper comes from virgin fiber and the rest comes from waste fibers. Between 5 and 10% of the derivatives of the cellulose is produced based on fibers that do not come from wood.
Among many environmental worries related to the manufacturing of traditional paper, we can mention:
- » Biodiversity loss
- » Replacement of natural or primary woods by tree plantations
- » The insufficient use of waste paper and fibers that do not come from wood
- » The domain of large scale mills that have a great political influence
- » The continuous use of chlorine as a bleach
- » Insufficient research regarding alternative technologies to produce paper in a cleaner way
- » High levels of paper use which are not sustainable, especially in rich countries
- » Systems of paper recollection and exports of paper impact the way of living of paper collectors in poor countries
- » Excessive demand of transport in the commercial cycle of paper
- » The hidden subsidies that promote the use of wood fiber rather than alternative fibers.
Bananas were probably the first fruit cultivated by man. Historically, it is registered before the Christian age. This plant is even cited in The Koran as the fruit of paradise, under the name Musa Paradisiaca, which is the modern name for plantains. It was spread all over the world and brought to the occidental hemisphere in the XVI century by an Spanish monk.
In only 15 countries, the banana agro-industry processes each year 42 million tons of bananas with 2 million hectares planted. This industry generates numerous wastes such as: the plastic that wrap the bananas, plastic cords to tie the wrapping, damaged bananas and the pinzote (stems). An alarming quantity of over 10 million metric tons of pinzote is thrown in landfills or in local rivers.
The pinzote is composed 92% of water, 3% of resins and 2% glucose, the rest is vegetal fiber. This particular composition makes it decompose with the solid component not getting destroyed. This causes a severe impact on the surrounding ecosystems, the detriment of riversand underground waters, also the massive reproduction of flies and nauseous smells.
The Coffee Agricultural Industry
The word coffee comes from the arab "kahwah" (cau), reaching us through the turkish "kahweh" (cavah), changing in the different languages but keeping it's root.
Coffee is native of the equatorial forests of Africa, from the west coast of Uganda and the south of Sudan. Also, from the occidental part of Africa between latitudes 10º North y 10º South, in altitudes varying from sea level to 1000m. It is today, with no doubt, one the most known fruits worldwide. 30 species have been identifies, but the most important in economic terms is the Coffea arabica. It represents 80 to 90% of the world production. Other important varieties are C.canephora and the C.liberica.The leadership belongs to Brazil, with 33% of the world production, Colombia follows with 12%. In the years 1998-99 the total world production was estimated in 6.5 million kilograms. The ripe coffee beans have a thin peel, jelly like flesh, a cover and a silver like peel around the bean, all of this has to be removed before the beans are sent to the market.
In 1989 Harry Johansing took a surftrip to Costa Rica with no idea he would fall for the diverse ecologicalregion, never wanting to part.Withyears of experience working with Kinko's, he never imagined one day supportinga Costa Rican lifestyle producing tree free papers.What is now a business producing uniquelysustainable and high quality tree free papers, once began as a small timecompany making colorful pads to sell as souvenirs.While touring the countryside looking forfibers to make his souvenirs, Harry experienced a life changing closeness tothe natural environment that would shape his destiny.It was the fascinatingly evolved birds,plants and other animals of the rain forest that made him realize his purposeof creating a tree free paper that would one day preserve the awesomeenvironment that he had fallen in love with.
Just using post consumer paperwasn't good enough, there needed to be another source, so Harry began imagininganother way.He partnered with Ian Ratowsky. What they created was a specialized method of mixing both post consumerand agricultural waste paper using no chemicals, less water, and inks made fromvegetable oil and soy which is less harmful to the environment than theirpetroleum counterparts.The product isnot only friendly to the environment, but superior to other paper with fibroustexture giving unmatched character.Natural coloring is taken from the fruits andbeans of the recycled agricultural waste giving the paper a romanticambiance.
It's not easy to compete with an established market strongly dominatedby traditional techniques of mass production. In fact, the road to success has been much like traveling the washed-outroads of Costa Rica.But like thenatives using creative and fun modes of transportation such as traveling byhorseback, Harry's tenacity was able to forgo competitors and create a productthat today has revolutionized the way paper is produced.To come right out with it, the company has created techniques for producing paper that make it possible to never have tocut down another tree again for the construction of paper.It is a suitable way for us to continueenjoying paper while keeping our planet healthy and viable for all species. Ecopaper has been producing Fine Environmental Papers and Paper products derived from natural fibers. Our products excel industry standards, resulting in state of the art banana paper, coffee and other sustainable paper products. Ecopaper proved among other things, that our modern society can satisfy it's growing needs without effecting the environment; and furthermore that undeveloped countries can also help with the global efforts to preserve our environment.
Ecopaper has managed, in very few years to expand internationally and sell in highly competitive markets such as the United States, Mexico, England and France. It has also managed an exponential growth as a direct result of its philosophy of conservation and respect for nature, which is shared by more people every day. We MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL PAPER :).
Agro-industrial fibers come from the waste of processing common agricultural products. At Ecopaper, we deal specifically with waste from bananas, coffee and tobacco. Our Research and Development Department is currently involved in studying new fibers from pineapple, orange and palm hearts.
Each industrial process leaves different by-products:
Packing of bananas: as a result of pulling apart the bunches of bananas from the main stem, we have the pinzote left over and it contains 5% of usable fiber to manufacture paper.
Processing coffee: peels, leaves and small beans are separated from the coffee that will be processed, which are used to manufacture our coffee paper.
By-products of tobacco: the leaves are separated from their veins during the processes involved in the tobacco industry, and they are used to make our tobacco paper.
As previously stated, the base fiber, or the vehicle, as we call it, is composed with paper that has already been used in some way. It is mostly office paper, tetra pack containers, magazines and news papers. All these papers are collected by specialized collectors and sent to the mill to later be mixed with agricultural fibers. (For bleached and texture propose, we do not use any acid or chemical to bleach). Once the mill process has begun, the post-consumer pulp is mixed with water in the pulper which is a huge mixer that dissolves the paper in the water. Preparation of the mix is commonly called pulping. The agro-industrial fiber and the disintegrated post-consumer fiber are mixed in a 20%-80% proportion respectively to form a suspension in the water. At this moment natural coloring can be added to achieve attractive shades in the paper.
Making Ecological Tree Free and Acid-Free Paper
The mix is thrown through a sprinkling system into an endless band that acts as a sieve, letting the water pass through while keeping the pulp in suspension. Combining adequately the speed of the band and the pressure of the sprinkling system, the thickness of the paper sheet can be regulated, which in a standardized way, which can be 60g, 90g, 120g or 250g. From the endless band, the paper is threaded in a set of drums that rotate at a high temperature. Then through another endless band, made from an absorbent material, it dries as it moves along. At the end of this zigzag of rotating drums, the paper sheet will only keep 3% of water and will be rolled into a big roll.
Editorial and Converting Processes
Our products are the result of a combination of editorial processes that make the final product possible. The combinations are very broad and in order to understand how the products are made, it is important to understand the individual steps:
» Rewinding: it is the process that divides a paper roll into smaller width rolls.
» Converting: The roll is cut into sheets to make paper reams.
» Paper cutting: It is a process that is usually used several times to produce an article. It can be used to make smaller pieces of paper or to clean the edges of reams or products.
» Printing press: lithography is the main method of printing used; it allows achieving finishes of one colour with text to photographic quality.
» Embossing: It is the process that allows raising a design and making it stand from the surface.
» Dies: It is a device for cutting or moulding paper into a particular shape, unlike the paper cutter that can only make straight cuts. This allows the designs to be original and alive.
» Binding: This process allows sticking the internal pages to their covers. It can be pasted with silicon for fixed pages or with water based glue to allow the pages to be pulled. There are also ring bound products, which are usually made with a double ring.
» Hand crafts: Through the skilled hands of many artisans, we achieve the details that add a touch of magic to each one of our products. The decorative on-lays on the covers, the original labels and the delicate assembly of the writing sets are all made by hand.
There are other hand-related jobs that require speed and strength like laminating a thin paper to a card board to make the covers or separate the leftovers after cutting products.
» Packing: Using strict packing standards, the products are packed to resist transport without getting damaged. We also use bar code identification which simplifies the identification in our warehouse and in our clients' warehouses.
We follow strict, internal quality control on all of the stated processes above. This allows us to provide you with a variety of top-quality Ecopaper products.
Our Beautiful and Useful Products
Due to the design, concept and the environmental philosophy surrounding Ecopaper's™ products, there are many strengths.
- » It is an original product
- » It is an attractive product: its beautiful design shows hours of dedication from our designing team. At Ecopaper, we all contribute with new ideas to keep refreshing the products, all based in the concept of preservation and harmony with Nature.
- » It is an environmentally friendly product
- » It is of very good quality and elegant
- » It is a new concept
Together with all the attributes mentioned above, there are many opportunities related to the commercialization of our products
- » It is a market not yet exploited to it's full potential
- » There is a growing market for green products
- » There is an ever-growing need for environmental awareness
- » Developed countries show more concern for the environment
- » Little competition from similar products
Waste paper from your office or home is called "post-consumer" waste. We assume that recycled paper is made from these wastes. This isn't necessarily so. Many of us feel deceived when we learn that most paper products labeled recycled contains little post-consumer material.
It is important for us as consumers to keep up the demand for this Post Consumer Waste (PCW) now that the recycling of paper is as viable as it has ever been.
Post-consumer wastepaper is choking our landfills and it is going to incinerators. There is no shortage of wastepaper and we need to concentrate on using it, and taking our waste paper to the recycling center. PCW makes up a very small percentage of the paper fiber used in the US.
It is exciting to think that recycling can really do something. We can keep this trend going by demanding high PCW content in our recycled paper. Waste paper being recycled was most likely made with chlorine the first time around. The problem with chlorine is the pollution from its use initially to make the paper and not the paper once it is made. The advantage of Banana, Coffee and Tobacco Paper is that it combines the virtues of using PCW and agricultural waste. The paper is made with less toxic processes, and thus results in less pollution. When You Buy Banana, Coffee and Tobacco Paper You Are Helping To...
» Paper accounts for 40% of all municipal waste
» Recycled paper means less trash, lower taxes & other disposal costs
» Tons of agricultural waste will not go into rivers and landfills
-60-70% energy savings over virgin pulp.
-The paper industry is the 3rd largest user of energy in the U.S.
Protect Natural resources
-The U.S. consumes 100 million tons of paper a year & use is increasing
-Recycled paper uses 55% less water & helps preserve our forests
-Recycling of waste paper creates more jobs
-The paper industry is one of the largest water polluters in the world
-Recycled paper reduces water pollution by 35%, reduces air pollution by 74%, and eliminates many toxic pollutants
Post-Consumer material (PCW): Waste paper that has served its intended purpose and has been separated from solid waste to be recycled into new paper
De-Inked Material: Waste paper that has had the ink, filler, coatings, etc.
Totally chlorine free (TCF): no chlorine or chlorine derivatives used to make paper, which means the paper must come from virgin (new) fiber.
Elementally chlorine free (ECF): no chlorine gas, but other chemicals containing chlorine are used for bleaching. ECF paper is often misrepresented as TCF.
Process chlorine free (PCF): Recycled paper processed back into paper using no chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Paper no re-bleached or bleached with an oxygen-based system. Secondarily chlorine free (SCF) is the same as PCF.
Post-Mill Material: Paper waste generated in converting and printing that is done by a facility other than the paper mill. This does not include mill waste or wood chips.
Recovered, Pre-consumer, and Wastepaper: These are ambiguous terms which have little consistency in definition...often refers to non waste-stream materials such as mill broke, other mill wastes, and wood chips.
Alternative fibers paper: It is the use of alternative fibers like hemp or kenaf to produce paper. These intentional crops are land based and they require water, fertilizers and pesticides which all have an environmental impact.
Agricultural waste: it is not an intentional crop, it is the waste from an existing land use, it is an excellent alternative since it is reducing the impact on the environment.
Written by Harry Johansing, Founder Ecopaper and Costa Rica Natural, in 2000. Minor updates in 2008.
Costa Rica Natural is the first company in the history of the paper industry to create and market treeless paper of a superior quality.Every page of Costa Rica Natural's Ecopaper is smooth, acid-free, durable, chemical-free, and made in the lush mountains of Costa Rica. With great satisfaction, Costa Rica Natural has developed an innovative and economically feasible option for the removal of the 230,000 tons of agro-industrial waste that are dumped yearly in Costa Rica alone.Our company is challenged by the invention of new processes to create paper from exotic tropical fibers, and we are inspired by the new textures and tones they offer to the consumer.The results of processing these exotic tropical fibers are items that both appeal to the consumer and the environmental aspirations out of the realm of idealistic dreams into a substantially positive environmental impact. Beyond our sophisticated, environmentally friendly products ranging from stationery, school supplies and office accessories, our main purpose is to create a new, unique paper with an attitude of serenity and character for every customer who wants to embark on an eco-friendly adventure.
Costa Rica Natural provides more than your average paper products.Ecopaper has character and provides benefits to our customers in the United States, to local Costa Ricans, and to the Earth.We are the first eco-friendly brand of paper that only uses recycled materials and does not add to the destruction of endangered forests. Secondly, we are based on the principles of fair trade and sustainable production by relying on partnerships among first and third world businesses. Next, it has more character than your average paper because of its exceptional texture, color, and appearance.Finally, Ecopaper offers a sustainable replacement to the wasteful paper products that are already overused in our society on a daily basis. Remember that every sheet of the treeless paper is uniquely handmade in an organic process which constantly promotes the development of the international Green Movement.With every purchase of Ecopaper that you make, a portion of the revenues goes to benefit others less fortunate. So please join Costa Rica Natural on its ecological adventure to save the earth's forests and promote the growth of the developing world.