Readersforum's Blog

March 29, 2013

Bestselling Authors Help Promote Straw Paper

14430-v1-338x338By Leigh Anne Williams

Random House of Canada has published special collectors’ editions of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Alice Munro’s Dear Life printed on paper made from straw rather than trees.

The Vancouver-based environmental organization Canopy worked with Random House and its imprint McClelland & Stewart to produce the special editions as way to raise awareness of alternative papers and to encourage the development of commercial-scale development of straw-based papers.

“Now more than at any other time in our history, we need to bring our intelligence and imagination to sustain our life support systems,” Munro commented. She praised Canopy for working “with a pure passion and unwavering conviction” to protect forests and inspire innovation.

Martel said,“Using straw paper for my book demonstrates that there are elegant solutions that keep the world’s towering trees standing.”

The signed special editions are printed on paper that combines chlorine-free wheat and flax straw with post-consumer recycled content. The flax-straw came from and was processed by Canopy’s technical partners, Alberta Innovates. The paper was produced by Quebec’s Cascades. The printer for Life of Pi was Friesens in Manitboa and Toronto-based Webcom produced Munro’s Dear Life.

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October 12, 2011

The medium is the message: Why Margaret Atwood’s new book is made of straw

  By John Barber

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.

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