Grow Paper, Save Nature…

When mother Earth seems to have an ailing present and deteriorated future, the ones part of it must take action to let that not happen. Lots and lots have been said, written, expressed but again the duty, the responsibility is not being taken seriously. The cause of the environmental health issues are many.. Use of plastics, fuels, and many other pollutants pollute our surrounding. One of the biggest issues is cutting down forests for making resources that we use in our daily life but what impact that leads to is something to be taken in consideration.

We are all aware of the fact that paper is made from wood and for that deforestation is in practise. Nearly, eighty thousand trees are cut down daily (According to Global Forest Resource Assessment 2015) for making paper. This continuous usage has brought down the global tree count to 46%. The top countries for paper production are China and USA. India accounts for about 3% of global paper production. This has severely affected and still affects the climate, the flora fauna and has a greater impact on health of living beings. And it is our responsibility to focus on making our land, our environment and ourselves healthier.

We must know that somewhere there exists a solution to either reduce the usage of non-biodegradable things or increase the number of plantation and some activities from our daily life can actually help to make our Earth greener. For that, the best an individual can do is, use the resources and also help in increasing plantation simultaneously.
The question rises in which way we can restore the green envelop our Earth feels happy being in…
“Seed Paper” is the answer.

Seed Paper, a handmade paper which has seeds of different flowering plants, herbs or trees and after usage when sown in the soil, the seeds germinate and later grow into full-fledged plants.

In other words, it is a biodegradable Eco-paper that is made up of new or used paper with seeds embedded in it. Later, the paper when planted in pot or garden composts away and the seeds grow and spread greenery.

Let’s first know how paper is made…
It is made from pulp (wood/cotton/vegetable fibres). Today, more than 90% of paper is made from wood pulp (a great reason of the reduction of trees).

To make pulp out of wood, it is turned into pulp in different ways. One is the mechanical pulping which involves grinding logs/wood chips into pulp using machines. The aim is to free the wood from the lignin that binds the fibres in it, together. The process involves forcing logs against a revolving stone/grinder, which grinds them into pulp by abrasive action. The fibres are removed from the pulp stone when water is sprayed to the stone. The production of mechanical pulp results in little removal of lignin and produces paper of low quality most suitable for newsprint, phone books or other low strength papers but higher yield.

The other method used to make paper from wood is chemical pulping where chemical cooking of wood chips takes place using a digester. The process is accomplished by using sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphide which selectively dissolves the lignin and make it soluble in the liquid. The pulp is then discharged from the digester, washed. This leads to low yield strong and soft fibres of high quality. This process is also known as Kraft process which is most commonly used.

After adopting any of these methods, the fibres are then dried and suitable for bleaching it to make white paper. The wood pulp is diluted 100 times its weight, the fibre liquid is then run through the machine where the water is removed on the section and spread to make sheets. The press section then squeezes out the sheets and lowers the water content to 50%. Again the process of drying is done by heating the sheets. Next, calendaring of paper happens where it is made smooth and compressed. This sheets are finally given for making rolls for printing / covering, etc..

The recycling of paper is done by using adhesives which are responsible for de-inking the paper and then send for cleaning and fine screening and again used to make pulp for further paper making process.

Now the realisation strikes again that tonnes and tonnes of wood must be used for making paper.

There are manufacturers who have taken the initiative to make pencils, pens, cards out of used papers/newspapers… which are environment sensitive and high quality. They use biodegradable raw material as a substitute to plastic/wood usage

Some have modified the idea of using these papers by embedding the paper with “Seeds” of different plants, flowers, trees. At many places, manufacturers are using “Plantable paper” for making Calendars, wedding cards, greeting cards, paper bags.
Botanical Paper Works, Carragreen, Plantcil are few who have taken the initiative to replace plastic and non-biodegradable things with eco friendly materials.

How the Seed Paper is made…

The pieces of recycled paper are made a pulp and mixed with seeds to form a pulp mix and then processed to form the desired shape. Newspapers, print papers, cardboards except glossy papers, are used for this.

Seeds which are used and suitable are small sized either vegetable seeds or herbs.

Firstly, used paper is torn into small pieces, boiling water is added and paper is allowed to soak and later is put in the blender to liquefy into a slurry. Excess water is removed from it. A handful of seeds, depending on their size and pulp amount, are added to the slurry. After mixing it well, a shape is given using cutters and towel is pressed on it and left to dry quickly.

It can be moulded to gift tags, bookmarks, calendars, etc..

After using it, these can be carefully planted into a pot, covering it with soil and making the soil moist enough for days coming so that the seeds get enough moisture to germinate. The watering must be done carefully to avoid overflowing since it needs damp atmosphere till a plant appears out of it. Later, after a stable growth it can be watered like any other plant.

And the garden will bloom with flowers without any wastage.

In this way, receiving the seed paper as a gift the land will be sustained, will have the green layer of plants and will become safe, healthy not only for itself but for us, the ones who use it to the fullest , at times without paying heed to what our mother Earth needs- to survive.

Breathe life into gifts, tags and cards,Happier and healthier will be our hearts.Let’s start to give back to nature what we take,
And let’s save the future for our mother’s sake!

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