It’s a rare day that you discover something entirely new in the paper market, but the other day we came across something new and exciting that’s a complete revolution in paper construction. Its name?
You may know that many papers we use in print are ‘coated’, meaning the surface of the paper has a microscopically-thin layer of China clay or calcium carbonate covering the paper core. Coating papers like this makes them smoother, reduces ink absorption, gives an improved quality of print and improved tactility for the reader.
Well, what happens when you remove the paper core and replace it with an alternative?
Stone papers replace the wood pulp-based paper core with a pulp-free layer made from waste stone offcuts bonded to a polythene film. The result is a very smooth, weighty, water and grease proof paper that doesn’t contain any wood whatsoever!
Uses and Benefits
Stone papers are of interest to people who feel they either offer practical benefits (such as their grease and waterproofing or tear-resistance) or align more keenly with their brand (such as being more environmentally-friendly than plastic alternatives or because they use no water in their production).
They also have a lovely smooth and weighty feel to them, increasing the reader’s perception of quality and prestige. Whatever your interest, here are some of the uses stone papers have been put to:
- Books/catalogues/magazines/brochures etc.
- Product labels
- Tickets (multiuse)
- Floor graphics
- Stronger and more durable than regular paper
- Waterproof– especially useful for outdoor use
- Tear resistant
- Write on it when wet
- Improved customer perception from weight and feel
- Water-free manufacture
- Great alternative to plastics in many applications (80% reduction)
- Food grade (FDA approved) and phthalate-free
Other Things to Consider
Stone paper is heavier than wood-pulp paper, so it’s probably not suitable for some mailing uses where weight is a consideration. Since bleaches or brighteners aren’t used in its production, there can also be some slight colour variation in the paper too. It’s also generally a little more transparent than other papers and isn’t suitable for laser printing. Note also that using stone paper will result in longer lead times and is more expensive than it’s paper equivalents.
Many people buy stone paper because of its eco-credentials. While we’re convinced of the transparent and measurable (and carbon-offsettable!) sustainability of paper over the (hidden) environmental costs of electronic media (see here) especially when using FSC or PEFC approved paper, stone paper does have some notable environmental benefits. Its production process doesn’t require water, bleaches or acid, its core is non-PVC and inert and it’s also recyclable with either paper or plastic waste. Manufacturers also claim it requires less energy to produce than standard papers.
For more information on stone papers or to price up your print project using stone paper, get in touch with an expert Webmart print consultant.