Mineral Solution to Paper Pollution and WasteWed, 02/19/2014 - 13:17
Q: Why did you decide to invest in the mineral paper business in Mexico?
A: The paper industry generates a lot of pollution. On average, it takes 75,000 liters of water and 20 10-year old trees to produce one ton of paper, but with mineral paper, you do not use a single drop of water or any trees. Given that 7.1 million tonnes of paper are used in Mexico annually, the main idea behind introducing mineral paper technology to the country was to offer a more sustainable paper solution. We are working closely with the Taiwanese owners of the patent to find the right funding opportunities, as this sector requires significant investment. Given 24 to 36 months and the right financing, we could fully develop this industry, especially since Mexico has a lot of calcite to use as a raw material.
Q: The concept of mineral paper is not widely known. What is your strategy to reach prospective clients and convince them to use this kind of paper?
A: We have to work very closely with the federal government, as they are the main consumer of paper in Mexico. The federal government is essential to develop the norms required to properly build the mineral paper market. Until now, there have been no regulations concerning mineral paper. In the next few months, we must focus on building our plant and ensuring that we have enough production to supply the market, as well as establishing the norms to create a basis for the market. Our interactions so far with high school and college students have shown that they love the product. The main problem right now is the price of mineral paper, as it can cost 30-40% more than ordinary paper. But once we set up our plant, their prices will become almost the same as that of ordinary paper.
Q: What are the main ways mineral paper can help the Mexican industry?
A: Mineral paper comes in a variety of different formats. In Mexico, 24% of the paper produced is used for publishing and 57% is used for packaging. The wide array of products that mineral paper is used for means we will eventually enter the packaging sector and start substituting some of the products that are currently being used.
Q: It has been reported that mineral paper can cause troubles for digital printing. How can you overcome barriers like this?
A: The mixture of 80% stone and 20% high density polyethylene, coupled with the heat, can make some printers crash. Mineral paper works with digital printing, there might just be one or two digital technologies that would be affected by the heat. Mineral paper must spend 12 months in direct sunlight to begin to degrade. Any other paper suffers the same effect when in the sun for 30 days, or in just five minutes if it is raining. This paper has no problem with water and is more resistant. It is also 100% recyclable.
Q: How do you see the use of mineral paper in Mexico developing over the next five to 10 years?
A: I think it will be in general use. It will prove to be very important in the education sector, since mineral paper is much more resistant and does not get damaged by water. The millions of text books that are printed yearly would no longer need to be printed, as with this paper, they could be passed on from generation to generation. Mineral paper will really change the way we read. The technologies we use right now will continue to grow but we will always use paper. Society likes to think it has been using less paper per person over the years. But in 1961, we were consuming 21 kilograms per person per year. In 2007, this reached 54 kilograms per person per year. There are not enough trees or water to maintain that rate. At this moment, mineral paper is the only technology in this sector that can change that. I believe we are just beginning to see what this technology can be used for.