How Banana Paper is Made
Step 1: Gathering the Raw Materials
As it has already been described, the paper at Costa Rica Natural is composed of both 100% recycled post-consumer paper and agro-industrial waste, gathered by a special collector team.The post consumer paper is obtained from offices, tetra pack containers, magazines and newspapers, sending it back to the mill.The team then goes to collect the agricultural waste from banana, coffee, lemon, mango, and tobacco plantations.
Step 2: Preparing the Agricultural Fiber
The scraps from the trees and left over fruits are first ground down until they resemble sawdust, turning into pure agro-industrial fibers.The fiber is washed to remove natural resins that would cause unnecessary binding, possibly fouling the machines, and taking away from the integrity of the paper.
Step 3: Preparing the Post-Consumer Fiber
Once the mill process has begun, the collected paper is thrown into the pulper along with water.The two are squashed and churned until the paper dissolves into the water.The process is called pulping and produces what is called the vehicle which means it is the base fiber in the paper for the agro-industrial fiber to be added.
Step 4: Mixing the Two to Create the Final Product
Mixing the post consumer paper with the agro-industrial fibers begins with putting the two products through a sprinkling system and an endless band that acts as a sleeve and keeps the pulp in suspension.The speed of the band and pressure of the sprinkling system dictates the thickness of the paper which can be 60, 90, 120, or 250 grams.The paper is then threaded into a set of drums and another endless band, made of absorbent material to further dry the paper.At the end of this process the paper will only retain 3% water and will receive natural coloring to provide attractive shades to the paper.
Step 5: The Editorial and conversion Process
One of the final and most complex processes of production, the editorial and conversion processes will determine the shape and aesthetic quality of the paper.It involves processes like rewinding and converting that prepares the paper to be cut into the shapes yielded in the finished product.Skilled artisans cut and assemble decorative on-lays and labels, laminating covers and assuring a top notch product.
Stage 6:The Packing Process
To ensure quality, strict packing standards are practiced, cutting down on waste by using only necessary and high quality packaging materials.Bar code identification is used to simplify warehouse accounting, leading to less headaches and more time to work with paper.