Van Gogh’s celebrated  Amber Waves Of Paper

Woody Harrelson, star of The Hunger Games, is on a mission to promote Manitoba-based Prairie Pulp and Paper Inc and its new product that promises to save a portion of Earth’s forests:  wheat-based paper.

The company will be the first to produce paper from waste wheat straw in North America’s first non-wood pulp-and-paper mill.

Harrelson said, “When we build a plant there in Manitoba, it’s going to be 100% wood free . . . really from agricultural waste.  I’d like to see a revolution in the paper industry, and I think this is an important part of that process.”

Prairie Pulp and Paper President Jeff Golfman said the $55 million project would employ 300 people and require between 300,000 and 400,000 tons of straw every year.

In a statement, Golfman said, “This is a huge step forward for our project and for the prospect of making paper in Manitoba that would support Manitoba farmers.  We’re very excited to be where we are now.”

Prairie Pulp and Paper commissioned an environmental impact study by Vancouver-based Offsetters that concluded the company’s recently launched Step Forward wheat-based paper has the least environmental impact among all North American copy papers, including 100% recycled paper.

Seven categories were studied, and Step Forward had the lowest environmental impacts including non-renewable energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, wastewater volume and aquatic acidification.

Offsetters was the first official supplier of carbon offsets in the history of the Olympics during Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Games.  James Tansey, president of Offsetters, said, “We feel confident putting our brand on their claims.”

He continued to say that straw-based copy paper is an innovative product that uses waste wheat straw from the agriculture industry and transforms it for use in papermaking.

The brand is currently made in India out of 80% waste wheat straw and 20% wood fibers and has been available at more than 330 Canadian Staples stores since last summer.

Canopy, a Vancouver-based-not-for-profit environmental organization, has supported the development of a straw-based industry in North America for more than a decade.

The company says 90% of Canadian logging occurs in old growth forests and that 50% of the harvest goes into paper production.  It believes that producing paper from leftover straw will protect forests and will create new sources of revenue for farmers and new green jobs in rural communities.

Last year Canopy helped publish a straw-paper version of In other World’s, Margaret Atwood’s collection of science fiction short stories.

“I’d like to see it get to the point where we never use trees to make paper, because to me, it’s just a barbaric way to make it,” Harrelson said.  “It’d be nice to just stop using the forest.  I hope people don’t lose their jobs or can transition into other jobs, but to me, we’ve taxed the forest enough.”

My Take on Woody Harrelson’s support of the movement:  I think he’s sincere in all he’s said in support, but perhaps he’s not mentioning a more personal motive.  Could he be trying to assure the lasting relevancy of his first name?  (smile)

Sources:  Huffington Post, Canada, October 25, 2012   Winnipeg Free Press, October 25, 2012


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