Technical Viability

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Photo by Neva Murtha

Technology innovations have made it possible to produce papers from agricultural residues without the pollution problems of the former generation of mills and at price parity with conventional paper. The properties of wheat straw can make papers that are strong and smooth.

North American Printing Paper Trial Runs

Canopy has printed three book runs and one magazine run on straw-based paper to showcase its quality and viability on commercial presses. Our organization collaborated on these trials with paper mills, printers and publishers and with the support of notable authors Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel (Life of Pi) and Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, as well as with Canadian Geographic magazine.

The technical qualities of the straw-based papers were excellent:
-Performed well on high speed presses
-Took ink with good definition
-Had high tensile strength (didn’t tear easily)
-Not visibly distinguishable from conventional papers

wheatsheet can geo

“We designed the Canadian Geographic 20% wheat straw paper to meet the specifications of the coated paper they were already using.  We succeeded with flying colors, meeting all requirements for brightness, strength, and runnability both on the paper machine and in the pressroom.”   Wade Chute, President, Techfibre Industries. 

Tissue

A number of companies are now making tissue products using wheat straw and bamboo. Kimberly Clark in the USA is but one example.

Packaging

There are many plants in China that manufacture packaging from straw fiber including YFYJupiter. Packaging doesn’t require whitening (bleaching), and it is a less technical product compared to printing and writing grade papers.

Dissolving Pulp

Research is underway to see if dissolving pulp can be made with agricultural fibers. Dissolving pulp is the base for textiles like rayon/viscose and other cellulosic products like cellophane (Scotch) tape. Canopy is working in collaboration with global clothing brands such as Zara/Inditex and H&M and leading designers like Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher to research and develop the use of fabric derived from straw pulp.