Environmentally-friendly Ways to Make Paper Without Using Trees

Nowadays, paper can be made out of materials besides trees. Take a look at the ingredients the next time you buy paper products like loose leaf, notepads and stationery and you just might find some of the materials listed below.

Post-Consumer Waste

While it might be hard to believe, the paper that we throw out or recycle is now being used to make new paper. Purchasing paper created from post-consumer waste decreases the amount of trees that are required to make paper. This process also conserves energy and prevents paper from being sent to the landfill. However, most post-consumer waste paper contains other ingredients, so don’t be tricked into thinking that it is made of 100 percent recycled material.


Agri-pulp is the synthesis of post-consumer waste and agricultural waste. When combined, these two create high-quality paper.


Hemp creates its own pesticide and grows incredibly quickly. It actually creates two times as much fiber in an acre as pine. The majority of the world’s paper was made with hemp until the late 19th century. Hemp paper does not crack, turn yellow or deteriorate like other tree paper, nor does it require any bleaching. While a regular tree takes between 20 and 80 years to mature, hemp stalks require merely 4 months. This means that it is the ideal material for paper. While hemp used to be banned in the United States, products made from hemp are now available from United States-based manufacturers.


Cotton grown in an organic manner is now being used to create paper. It grows in a number of different colors including white, green and brown.



Kenaf is related to the cotton plant. It requires about 20 percent less energy to make pulp compared to pine. Yet kenaf does not create as much plant matter in its growing season as hemp. While kenaf can produce high-quality paper, it can’t product ample plant material to produce enough paper to meet the world’s demand.


Bamboo is now being used to make everything from loose leaf paper to paper towels. It’s an incredibly fast-growing grass that generates 5 times the amount of fiber of the world’s fastest-growing commercial trees. While bamboo has a fast growth rate and does not require debarking, its sporadic flowering prevents a regular supply. It is challenging to chip due to hollow stems and its dense nodes are difficult to pulp.

Paper is Changing as Time Progresses

It is clear that trees are no longer necessary to create paper. Technological advancements and an improved understanding of the materials around us have made it possible to make paper with a variety of substances. Most of these sources and methods are much better for the environment than chopping down trees. There is a good chance the paper you use on a daily basis for printing, taking notes and making lists is derived from something other than paper.