What’s waterproof, tear-resistant and something you can write on? That’s right, paper made from stone. We chatted with Kevin Garcia, founder of Karst Stone Paper to find out more about this eco-friendly paper.
Kevin Garcia was traveling around Taiwan when he discovered stone paper. At the time, it was only used for packaging and industry. Kevin quickly realised that this paper is eco-friendly, recyclable, photodegradable and low impact, and so decided to make it available to people through beautifully designed notebooks and other lifestyle products. We spoke to him about his mission to change the world through alternate materials.
The products we purchase and consume usually outlast us. That’s something to remember when shopping for things that are “temporary”.
– Kevin Garcia
In this interview, we speak to Kevin about:
> What is stone paper? Is it better than normal paper?
> What are some misconceptions about stone paper?
> What statistics have you found about the paper industry that shocked you?
How did you stumble upon the concept of stone paper and what is it?
KEVIN GARCIA: I was fortunate enough to travel the world and visit a lot of places where I learnt much about manufacturing, resources and materials. It wasn’t until I was in Taiwan that I discovered stone paper. It’s waterproof, tear-resistant and it doesn’t use any trees or water. Plus, it produces 60% less carbon emissions when manufactured.
Some have said that stone paper uses plastics as a binding material. Is this true? What are some big misconceptions about stone paper?
The technology is always improving, and the same goes for stone paper. We use up to 90% pure calcium carbonate which is recycled stone from existing quarries. We then bind them with recyclable, non-toxic resin. And because the resin is used in such small portions, the paper can be recycled indefinitely. It is also photodegradable in natural sunlight, and breaks down in nature over 6-12 months.
Taking a step back, what are some statistics that you found about the process of the normal pulp and paper industry?
To produce pulp and paper- I was quite shocked that it is the 5th largest consumer of energy globally. That is about 4% of total energy usage. Another thing is how much water is required to make pulp paper. The industry uses more water than any other industry to produce a ton of product. That is a lot of trees and water used.
Our manufacturing plant uses solar power, and the total energy saved is about 60% fewer carbon emissions than regular paper. We also don’t use any trees or water. We’re trying to break out into a broader spectrum of products but the the driving force behind our brand remains: which is to create more awareness on conscious living.
What are some challenges you faced in your entrepreneurship journey?
Before we launched, our biggest challenge was delivering it to customers who wanted to buy our products. We had over 10,000 orders and when our shipping partners failed to deliver, it was a nightmare. I was getting death threats, emails and calls from people asking “Where’s my product? I paid for it!”. But it’s all part of the process; learning how to deal with criticism and making mistakes.
Kevin’s #LittleGreenSteps for conscious consumers
- When you’re buying goods or products or anything at all, think about where they came from and where do they go. If you don’t know the answers, it’s a good opportunity to learn!
- Always ask questions about your product.
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*Cover photo taken from Karst Stone Paper’s Facebook Page.