Canadian Geographic Magazine's June issue made from wheat straw waste


    OTTAWA, May 22 /CNW/ - From barnyard bedding to breathtakingly
beautiful... Canadian Geographic Magazine's June issue, on newsstands today,
is the first magazine in North America to be published on paper made from
wheat straw waste. It marks the birth of a new era in paper production and
forest conservation.
    The paper, known as the Wheat Sheet, demonstrates that high-quality
magazine-grade paper can be made from fibre other than wood pulp, which is the
only fibre that pulp and paper mills in Canada currently use. The Wheat Sheet
shows that Canada could diversify its paper fibre sources to include a
substantial amount of straw left over from grain harvests in communities
across Canada.
    The environmental organization, Markets Initiative, partnered with
Canadian Geographic magazine and technical experts at the Alberta Research
Council to create an exploratory trial that would showcase the commercial
viability of paper made from agricultural by-products, namely wheat waste. The
printer, Ottawa-based Dollco Printing, was the first North American
publications' printer to print on wheat straw.
    "Our June issue uses 60 percent less trees but looks and feels just like
any other issue of Canadian Geographic," said Editor-in-chief Rick Boychuk.
"We're delighted by this paper's performance and hope it will be more widely
available for North American publishers soon."
    The paper used for the magazine contains 20 percent wheat straw and
40 percent recycled fibre content, with the balance coming from wood pulp.
Using straw-based pulps can halve a paper's ecological footprint and improve
its strength and print quality. However, the wheat straw pulp for this
magazine edition was sourced from China, because straw-pulping facilities have
yet to be retrofitted in Canada.
    "Canada is well positioned to become a leader in a brand new resource
industry that is also an environmental solution for the twenty first century,"
said Nicole Rycroft, executive director at Markets Initiative. "Our world
needs environmental solutions. Here's one at the farm gate and we've
identified hundreds of commercial paper consumers ready to buy it."
    The majority of Canada's paper is currently made from Boreal forests and
Temperate rainforests. Straw from Canada's wheat harvest could produce
8 millions of tonnes of pulp - equivalent to the paper volume used by the
North American newspaper industry every year. That could result in a saving of
100 million trees each year - without impacting food production or increasing
energy inputs, while providing a new source of income for grain growers.
    More than ten years ago, the Alberta Research Council began investigating
pulping technologies for agricultural fibres such as wheat straw. "We're
working with the pulp and paper industry to explore additional opportunities
to create new agriculturally-based pulps that can satisfy the growing market
demand for environmentally friendly paper," said Wade Chute, head of ARC's
pulp-paper program.

For further information:

For further information: Nicole Rycroft, Markets Initiative, Executive
Director, cell: (778) 987-9099; Rick Boychuk, Canadian Geographic,
Editor-in-chief, (613) 740-2009; Steve Hogle, Alberta Research Council, VP
Communications, cell: (780) 293-5050; Kevin Nicholds, Dollco Printing,
President, (613) 738-9181 ext. 3313

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