[GRRN] Rubicon tree-free paper followup

Ann Krohn Rick (Ann.Rick@colorado.edu)
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 09:35:28 -0600 (MDT)

My thanks to all of you who provided me with information about Rubicon
tree-free paper. As I suspected, there was a dark cloud to the silver

Rubicon by Fox River and distributed by Nationwide Papers claims the following:

chlorine free
acid free and recyclable
waste water is triple cleaned and returned to the bamboo fields
bamboo grows rapidly without herbicides
this bamboo comes from Thailand and therefore does not threaten the Panda's
habitat in China
supports small family farms

One reader suggested that I check the "ReThink Paper" website
(http://www.igc.apc.org/ei/paper/bamboo.html), which in fact does not
endorse this product for several reasons, a few of which are:

the environmental claims are in fact not true
many subsistence farmers were "removed" to make room for the farms
even though this area doesn't affect Panda habitat, if bamboo becomes
popular sensitive regions will become exploited in the future
why pay for a foreign product when we have markets at home

I like the tree-free alternative, but I will certainly re-think using this
product in the future. By the way, price-wise it is expensive, but equal to
the 100% post-consumer wood fiber papers that my printer offers.

About Kenaf: I was interested in this several years ago, and it was
produced in the US. My printer quit carrying it because it had very poor
print quality. My printer says that eventually the Kenaf mill went out of
production and now in back producing a Kenaf-wood pulp mixture.

Hemp: My printer carries a product by Vanguard that is 50% hemp, 50%
wood-fiber. Of course the hemp isn't local.

I guess I'm leaning more toward the 100% post-consumer recycled product
now. It has flecks of toner in it, so it is not ideal for all applications.
Of course re-educating our clients about what is a good "look" is part of
the job, and I say "starchy white" is definitely OUT.

At this point I think "ReThink Paper" has the best advice:

"Call or write Fox River and Unicorp and tell them you appreciate their
exploration of nonwood
alternatives, but that you won't buy their papers until they switch to
sustainable, agricultural fibers grown here in North America."

100 West Lawrence Street
Appleton, WI 54911
TEL: (800) 558-8327

1650 Miraloma Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870

Thanks again to all of the good leads on this subject.