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Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
My Decisions Impact Michigan, the U.S. and the World

Tree-Free Paper

Paper can be made without trees. One acre of kenaf, a plant related to cotton, produces as much fibre in one year as an acre of yellow pine does in twenty. Paper can also be made of material such as hemp. Making paper from non-tree sources is currently being done in at least 45 countries in more than 300 mills. Non-tree based papers require less bleaching and less energy to produce. The pulp made from non-tree sources is also less expensive than that made from trees.

EXPLORE: Learn more about the kenaf plant.

Trees on Isle Royale
Kenaf

Why avoid using trees to make paper?

Trees are very beneficial. Besides producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, they also contribute to soil replenishment, erosion control, air pollution reduction, fish and wildlife protection, and many other environmental benefits. Cost and energy efficiency may also be reasons to use non-tree sources for making paper.

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