On the press-room floor this week, queued for printing, we have some Shiro Alga Carta – an Italian creative paper made from seaweed.
Production of this environmental paper started In the early '90s when pollution in the Adriatic sea resulted in the Venice Lagoon becoming swamped with thousands of tonnes of algae. This reduced the natural oxygen level in the water which in turn killed fish.
In order to combat this problem, algae was collected from the lagoon, dried and finely ground into "flour". The flour was combined with FSC fibres to make a high quality environmentally friendly speckled paper where the speckles are the milled algae.
Interestingly, the paper becomes whiter as it ages due to the chlorophyll in the algae, in direct contrast to the majority of wood-based papers where exposure of lignin to air and sunlight turns paper yellow.
The 50,000 tonnes of algae collected each year is the papermaking equivalent to 30,000 tonnes of trees.
The manufacturing process of Shiro Alga Carta is patented by Favini and the range is available through Fenner Paper in the UK.