Meadow as a carton: packaging made of grass paper

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The booming Online trade in need of cartons, and more and more supermarkets put on the paper bags instead of plastic. Can grass paper to be a sustainable Alternative to traditional manufacturing of wood?

The Bioäpfel in the supermarket are in a green cardboard Cup that smells a bit of hay. “This carton is to cut 40% from green. The rapidly renewable resource of Grass conserves resources and the environment,” is to be read to.

Behind the innovative cardboard from Grass, Uwe D’Agnone, owner of the Hennef company Creapaper in North Rhine-is-Westphalia. The company has produced a variety of products from cardboard and paper. Then the passionate tinkerer read that in countries such as Indonesia, each year, huge forest areas are cut down. Wood is the main raw material for the manufacture of paper. D’Agnone was looking for Alternatives and ended up after a few Try, finally, in the case of hay. Together with the Agricultural scientists of the University of Bonn he developed a new product. The green section of virtually any Meadow is usable.

Grass contains in contrast to wood, hardly Lignin. Lignin is a natural glue that holds together the cellulose fibers in the wood, for the manufacture of paper, but must be removed.

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Paper from Grass

More to the topic: The exploitation of the primeval forests

“In the tree wood Lignin allows for growth in height. The higher the Plant, the more Lignin it has. So I looked to the bottom,” says D’Agnone in the DW-interview.

To release Lignin from the wood, is used in the traditional paper-making, a lot of energy, water and chemistry. Also a matter of organization, according to investigations by the German FEDERAL environmental a paper bag only bag then in a more sustainable compared to plastic, if you used at least eight times again.

Energy and water saving in the production

The grass paper, the balance sheet looks better. D’Agnone’s company uses for the production of no chemicals and only a tenth of the energy required in conventional paper production. Only two liters of water per ton of grass to be consumed fibers – instead of 6000 litres of water for the same amount of wood as a raw material.

Plastic packaging for fruit at the supermarket

“Per ton of pulp from wood, there are 510 kg of CO2 emissions”, says D’Agnone. “We can save 75 percent of it,” said the inventor. Even compared to recycled pulp from recycled paper of CO2 emissions in production is 25 percent smaller.

More to the topic: Is bioplastics the solution against environmental pollution and climate change?

The Grass is dried, cleaned, to the required fiber length can be cut and pressed into Pellets. These are then stirred into water. Depending on the application, the resulting paper can have up to 60 percentage proportion of Grass. The Rest is – as is the case with conventional paper made of fresh wood and recycled material.

“The majority of the pulp is imported in Germany at the moment, such as eucalyptus farms,” says Nico Arbeck from the competence centre for sustainable raw materials (C. A. R. M. E. N. eV) in Straubing. The imports come from all over the world, including Scandinavia, southern Europe and Latin America.

Arbeck looks at the grass, paper a lot of advantages: much less water and energy consumption, a regional, everywhere available raw materials and short transport distances. And so far the only compensation areas will be mowed, which are not used for agriculture. “Currently, the is no competition for food production,” says Arbeck.

Uwe D’Agnone shows in his office of various products from grass paper

Green breakthrough, or just something for the “eco-sense”?

D’Agnone’s grass paper is with innovation, the environment and Founder, won countless awards, including most recently the prestigious Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award, with the technological breakthroughs are distinguished.

Prof. Jukka book has been from the paper centre Gernsbach at the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg, in contrast, is skeptical.

“That in itself is nothing New: The paper industry uses a lot of annual plants”. For some niche products, for example, cotton, hemp, or Jute, are added. “Grass paper brings no advantages for the end product, but gives the customer a feeling of Eco,” says the researcher.

More to the topic: Why the Germans did not get away from the plastic

To the life cycle assessment of the production Prof. book has been not to Pay, but he suspected that many substances pass out of the green cut into the water, there must be a way to filter out later. Because of the visible fibers would also have a greater amounts of grass paper, a negative effect on the quality of recovered paper.

“We had to prove that the paper manufacturers that the grass paper is recyclable and in direct contact with food is allowed to have, for example, no allergens, contains,” says D’Agnone and refers to various certificates, which you can read on his website.

In the paper factory Scheufelen grass paper green rolls next to the white rolls of paper from wood.

More than 20 factories in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy to work with his Pellets. Of course, the paper from Grass is still far from displacing conventional paper made from wood. But 90 percent of the applications were also made of Grass to produce, says the inventor.

At the papiertechnische Stiftung in Heidenau, he tried and tested various recipes for cardboard, carton, gift and stationery. The origin of the Meadow you can see the result more or less: Sometimes the “green” look and feel is desired even. In D’Agnogne’s office in Hennef, Shoe boxes, shopping bags, fruit bowls, drinking straws, files, folder and coffee mug from grass paper stack. For football fans the company produces lawn and even greeting cards from the stadium.

Hay from the Region

In the meantime, Creapaper also counts large companies such as REWE, Edeka, Coca Cola, dm, Otto Versand, and Norma to its end users. The REWE group has tested the first food retailer the packaging material and it is now an integral part of their sustainability strategy.

Find out more: life without plastic – how complicated is it, really?

“In the future, will be reviewed for all relevant articles in the fruit and vegetable season planning, whether grass paper can be used,” reads the website of the supermarket chain.

In mid-may, opened Creapaper in Düren, the first large-scale plant for grass pellets. This should supply a number of paper producers between the Bergische Land and the Netherlands, with raw material from the meadows of the Eifel region. Producers, which include a long-term contract with him, D’Agnone, a Pellet plant on the factory premises. After the Creapaper concept, the hay should come namely as possible from the perimeter of the paper factory and on site to be processed.


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