Turning Rocks into Notebooks: A Look at Karst’s No-Tree Paper

Turning Rocks into Notebooks

Analyzing Karst’s disruptive “stone paper” and how environmentally friendly it is

Around 42% of wood harvest across the world goes into making paper. The paper industry is a significant contributor to deforestation and consumes 4% of the world’s energy reserve. To mitigate the environmental impact of the paper industry, the Australia-based company Karst has come up with an eco-friendly solution to the world’s paper needs.

Karst first entered the paper industry in 2017. The company’s founders Kevin Garcia and Jon Tse, have made it their mission to disrupt the paper industry. Karst produces notebooks and journals made from 100% recycled stone without any bleaches, acids or trees.

Let’s learn more about the company’s products and how sustainable they are.

How are stone notebooks made?

Karst collects stone waste from mining and construction quarries, which is then ground into dust and combined with non-toxic resin. This combination of stone dust and resin is subjected to high pressure and heat in heavy rollers to make it thin enough to become paper.

Stone paper vs regular paper

The first and perhaps most important difference between the two is that, unlike traditional paper, stone paper is not made from wood pulp, making it more environmentally friendly.

Another advantage stone paper has over regular paper is that it does not have a grain direction. Grain direction refers to the direction of fibers on a sheet of paper, which is absent in stone paper because it is not made from fibers. One can fold and tear paper more easily along the grain as opposed to against the grain. Stone paper’s lack of grain direction makes it tear-resistant and provides a smoother writing surface.

Besides, the recycled stone used in producing Karst’s notebooks is calcium carbonate from repurposed construction material. Calcium carbonate is hydrophobic, which means that not only are the notebooks environmentally friendly but also entirely waterproof. An accidental coffee spill will never ruin your meeting notes if you use Karst notebooks.

Karst’s sustainability efforts

Karst is a certified B corporation, which means that it meets the highest standards for social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. The company’s production approach is mindful of a product’s complete life cycle. Their stone paper production process is powered by solar energy, preventing any pollution that the use of fossil fuels would have generated. Karst’s factory houses a recycling facility to repurpose scrap paper that might have undergone damage in the production process.

Karst’s notebooks do contain some amount of plastic. The resin used in the production process is a type of plastic. They need to be recycled much like any other plastic product. However, the company says that if left unrecycled, the stone will biodegrade in a year and the resin would break down with oxidation since it is present in a minimal quantity. The notebooks are also fully compostable if heated at high temperatures.

Karst’s stone paper has a 67% smaller carbon footprint than average paper. To make their customers’ purchases carbon-neutral, the company offsets the rest of their carbon footprint by planting a tree for every purchase. As of 2019, the company has over 100 stores in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Their products range from US$9.95 to US$100, so there’s something for everyone.

Header image courtesy of Karst’s website

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