Step up, lucky customers. Author Margaret Atwood has something “very special” for you: an autographed limited edition of her new book, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, printed on paper made not from wood, but straw, “without any harmful impact on forests and their fragile ecosystems,” according to the author.
To farmers, it’s waste. But for buyers willing to pay $100 for one of the 300 straw-based Atwoods going on sale Tuesday, the investment could well prove worthwhile. If nothing else, they will get to enjoy their part in an innovative plan to save the planet.
As the brainchild of Vancouver-based environmental group Canopy, the limited edition is designed to showcase the viability of wheat and flax straw as alternative sources of fibre for fine paper.
“I just find it shocking that in 2011 we still cut down 400- to 800-year-old trees to make bank statements and junk mail,” Canopy executive director Nicole Rycroft said in an interview. “We want to demonstrate that in fact you can produce paper without using forest fibre at all.
“And that’s what we’ve done with this special edition of Margaret Atwood’s book,” she added. “It’s made entirely of wheat straw, flax straw and recycled content.”
Dubbed Second Harvest by its promoters at Canopy, the new material is “the kind of practical innovation that could make paper from endangered forests ancient history,” Ms. Atwood stated in a Canopy press release.