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Aussie firm turns rock into paper

An Australian company is repurposing waste rock from the mining and construction industries to produce environmentally-friendly ‘stone paper’.

Sydney-based Karst Stone Paper uses calcium carbonate from limestone and marble to produce its ‘stone paper’ product, which is now sold in more than 100 retailers across the UK, US and Australia.

Co-founders Jon Tse and Kevin Garcia featured in a recent Forbes article and spoke of their “lightbulb moment” following an encounter with the original creator of the product in Taiwan.

“We thought it was crazy that no one had tried to disrupt the enormous traditional pulp paper industry with a more sustainable and eco-friendlier alternative in stone paper,” Tse told the publication.

The duo started making notebooks, mainly A5 hardcover notebooks. In the past two years they have sold more than 70,000 units  across 80 countries, with more than two-thirds of their customers being Americans.

According to its website, Karst Stone Paper is a ‘superior alternative’ to traditional pulp paper that uses no trees, water, wastes, acids or bleaches.

It repurposes waste stone – containing calcium carbonate – produced by the mining and construction industries, which is crushed into a powder before being combined with a non-toxic, recyclable binding agent.

“Not one drop of water and not one tree was harmed in the making of these notebooks,” the company stated.

The paper is said to be whiter and smoother than traditional products. It’s also waterproof and tear-resistant. Meanwhile, the manufacturing process is powered in part by solar energy, leaving a 60 per cent smaller carbon footprint than traditional paper production.

Tse told Forbes the biggest challenge has been educating the public about the product, rather than the manufacturing process itself.

“We are all so used to buying normal pulp paper products and only a drop in the ocean know about stone paper so it will take a lot more time and resources to educate the general public on this,” he said.

“Fortunately, a lot of people these days are much more conscious about their purchases and therefore this mindset shift has really helped us grow.”

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