Back in 2014, Dutch company Schut Papier published the world’s first book printed on paper made out of tomato plant fiber. The company from the Netherlands officially launched their Valorise bio-paper in 2016.
Paper that can be reused 7 times over
The book’s publisher asked Schut Papier if they could make paper from residue fibers from the agricultural industry. After a successful test production of 4,000kg of paper, the small company started producing paper for the book ’Connecting Industries’. Thanks to the success of the book and the interest for paper made from tomato plant fibers, the firm now produces books, boxes, menus, brochures, note pads, etc. out of bio-paper. What makes this type of paper even more special is that it can be reused seven times over.
The residue left from the horticulture sector – like tomato plant fibers cultivated in greenhouses in the Westland area – is available for free. Horticulturalists want to get rid of it, just a fraction of the material ends up as compost. By comparison, for the usual wood cellulose, paper producers pay up to €500 per ton. The paper sector has created a new supply chain which also has value to the horticulture market.
After two years of development, Schut Paper is launching Valorise by Schut Paper. This paper is the result of collaboration with growers, knowledge centres and universities for the circular value of fiber from agricultural residues such as tomato plants. The optimal scenario is that agricultural residue (e.g. tomato and paprika crops) is not composted, but that 100% is used as raw material for the paper sector and as an ingredient for other industries.
In 2015, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) voted Schut’s paper from tomato plant fiber one of the twenty most innovative products in the pulp and paper industry. The paper could be ordered in minimum volumes of 2 tons and by subscription for special production. Since the introduction of the paper, it has been successfully used for various publications and materials.
The paper industry is responsible for half of the wood usage in the Netherlands. On a global scale, 1 in every 3 chopped trees is used as pulp, a raw material for paper. This affects the world’s biodiversity. Moreover, the industry uses a substantial amount of water, contributing to decreasing groundwater level and desiccation. So it goes without saying that replacing the wood pulp, albeit a small percentage, with a rarely used plant residue material will serve as an advantage to saving the environment. Schut Papier continues to explore the best ways to reuse plant fibers. Among other things, the company is working on decreasing the use of water by further recycling of the water.
The Best Practices
Holland Circular Hotspot (HCH) wants to support international cooperation on the circular economy, with the aim of creating business opportunities and promoting the exchange of knowledge and innovation. In the magazine Circular Is Going Global - Join Holland's Flow you can read which circular best practices the Netherlands has to offer.