Canadian Geographic’s June issue, which hit newsstands yesterday, is the first magazine in North America to be printed with paper made from wheat straw waste.
A joint effort by the magazine, the Alberta Research Council and environmental non-profit organization, Markets Initiative, it demonstrates that a magazine-grade paper can be made with something other than wood pulp. The June issue of CG contains 20% wheat straw, which came from China since there are no straw-pulping mills in Canada, and 40% recycled fibre content, with the remaining balance from wood pulp.
According to Markets Initiative executive director Nicole Rycroft, this idea was four years in the making and has so far garnered very strong interest and market support. The paper was made at a NewPage mill in the U.S. and printed at Ottawa-based Dollco Printing.
Deborah Lovegrove at Dollco says the printing process was surprisingly smooth. "it worked out very well," she says. "I think [our production guys] were a little bit nervous about the overall ink absorption and were surprised at the overall outcome. It was quite easy to work with." Dave Dauncey, director of quality assurance at Dollco, said the wheat sheets required "no process changes whatsoever."
In his editor’s note, CG editor-in-chief Rick Boychuk writes, “We’d like to convince the magazine industry and, ultimately, the pulp-and-paper industry that adding agricultural waste to the pulp mix is a step forward, that it will ease some of the demand for virgin pulp from the boreal forest and offer grain farmers a new source of revenue for what is now largely a waste by-product.”
- "Canadian magazine makes history using special paper" [CBC]
- "Glossy magazine wakes up on 'wheat sheets'" [The Globe and Mail]