Canopy’s Second Harvest Vision for Straw-based Paper

How Can You Answer the Call and Make a Difference?

Did you know these facts about paper?

  • Until 1850, U.S. paper was made from recycled linen and cotton rags.
  • The use of forests as a major source for paper did not begin until the late 1880s.
  • During WWII through the 1960s, there were 25 mills in the U.S. that made paper from wheat straw.
  • Nearly 40% of today’s forests are logged to make paper.
  • 10% of the world’s paper (20% in China and India) is made from agricultural fiber like wheat, rice and sugar cane straw.
  • The amount of leftover, unused straw, and other agricultural residue in North America that can be converted to paper is equivalent to 250 million trees.

Clearly, there is room and need to grow the straw-based paper market.

Canopy, EarthColor’s environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO) partner, has been on the vanguard of developing eco-papers made from agricultural residue since 2004.  Their Second Harvest Paper campaign has grown dramatically in that time as more than 350 partner companies have embraced innovative processes and products that reduce the stress of paper production on our forests.

Canopy has launched successful pilot projects with publication-grade Second Harvest book paper, printing special edition books for well-known authors Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel as well as a trial issue of Canadian Geographic magazine. The paper used contained 20% wheat straw, 40% post-consumer recycled paper and 40% chlorine-free, FSC-certified virgin paper.

Canopy has worked with Staples and Prairie Paper (another EarthColor ENGO) to make Step Forward™ copy paper available in their stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Canopy’s Ecopaper Database lists a growing range of environmentally sound paper choices, including several straw-based papers like the Step Forward Paper grades that EarthColor currently offers. Canopy is also working with many mainstream pulp and paper producers to help them diversify their fiber sources to include agricultural residue papers.

Canopy’s latest initiative, the Say Yes! campaign, was launched on March 15th to enthusiastic public response. Known by the acronym YIMBY (Yes, In My Back Yard), this new program is aimed at identifying agricultural communities across North America that have sufficient straw supply and the infrastructure, workforce and other components needed to become potential straw pulp mill sites. These operations will generate more revenue for farmers, create new “green” jobs for the community and provide commercial scale production of straw-based pulp and paper.

What can you do to advance the use of straw-based papers and conserve our forests? 

Ask us if Step Forward Paper is right for your next project.  Review Canopy’s Eco-paper Database with your EarthColor sales representative for other alternatives that use agricultural fiber residue or contain recycled content. EarthColor encourages you to participate in Canopy’s Second Harvest Pulp and Paper Market Survey to help forward research on innovative solutions for paper and fabric products using agricultural residue fibers.  More information on Canopy’s Second Harvest and “Yes, In My Back Yard” (YIMBY) campaigns can be found here.

If you’re interested in receiving a copy of our award winning 2015-2016 Sustainability Report, which details how EarthColor is working with Canopy and our other ENGO partners, please fill out the form.

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