• Paper

Tree Free Papers 

It’s paper, but not as we know it!

Synthetic or plastic papers

Plastic papers have been around since the 60s and are extruded from polypropylene pellets to which inorganic fillers and coatings are added. 

Uses and benefits
No trees! The papers are entirely tree free, 100% recyclable and non-toxic.  The production process is clean with low emissions and uses very little water.  Being made of plastic means the papers are waterproof and tear proof making them suitable for a wide variety of applications where strength and durability are needed. 

Uses include packaging and labelling, outdoor posters, maps and menus. For publishers they are ideal for books for the sticky fingered, offering a wipe free surface for cookery titles, kid’s books or manuals for dirty jobs. The papers have a smooth bright white printing surface and deliver excellent printed results.  They can be printed using conventional offset or gravure process with solvent based oxidising inks.  

Types of Synthetic Papers

Yupo are the market leaders having launched their first synthetic paper in Japan back in the 60s. Manufacturing is split between Japan and US and they offer a wide range of materials for different applications ranging in thicknesses from 80 microns (roughly 60gsm) up to 400 microns (roughly 415gsm).

nurses.jpgTaiwanese based plastics giant Nan Ya are another player having entered the market in 1998. We have used Nan Ya material successfully over the years for F.A. Davis’s Notes titles – a series of stay clean medical pocket guides which are waterproof and reusable with write on / wipe off pages.

Other players include Arjobex with their global brand Polyart and DuPont, producers of Tyvek. Unlike Yupo, DSC07027.JPGNan Ya and Polyart which are all produced with biaxially stretched polypropylene sheeting, Tyvek is spun from high density polyethylene fibres (olefin).   It appears woven with a lightly textured surface and is more lightweight than its polypropylene counterparts but possesses all the waterproof, tear resistant qualities.  Although Tyvek is used primarily in the construction industry as barrier technology, we have used it very effectively in Workman’s Indestructibles series – a series of beautifully illustrated chew proof, non toxic, washable books for babies.  

Other things to consider
Synthetic papers are undeniably more expensive than regular paper and the printing can be slower, opacity can also been an issue meaning that you may have to use the next weight up (compared to regular paper) to get the same level of opacity.  But when one considers that these papers combine the best qualities of paper, film and cloth and are so much more versatile than regular papers the pros may outweigh the cons!

Stone Paper


Hard to believe but this Tree Free paper is made from stone – or waste stone offcuts to be precise.  It’s not as mad as it sounds when you consider that most papers we use in printing comprise a wood pulp core ‘coated’ with clay or calcium carbonate outer.  Stone paper is 80% calcium carbonate with a thin layer polyethylene forming the sandwich filling resulting in a smooth, weighty paper.

Uses and Benefits
It’s environmentally friendly - calcium carbonate is a by-product of mining and quarrying – the excess material that gets scraped away in pursuit of more valuable minerals.  The production process is clean and uses less water and harmful chemicals than regular paper and so fits with the ideologies of many environmentally responsible companies.

Smooth, tough and weighty, stone paper is also waterproof and tear resistant and has many practical applications. Great for products which need durability such as bags, maps and multiuse ticketing, its luxurious feel also make it a good choice for luxury brands, conveying a sense of prestige and quality.   The paper is also greaseproof making it suitable for contact with food applications and carries FDA certification.

The paper is available in a variety of weights or thicknesses starting at 100 microns and rising to 400 microns.

Other things to consider
Stone paper is more expensive than regular paper but comparable to synthetic papers. The calcium carbonate
coating is absorbent, meaning more ink is used in production and the opacity, compared to regular paper is poor
when working on the lighter weights. There can also be some colour variation as no bleaching agents are used in
the process. The paper is made to order so leadtimes need to be checked on a job by job basis. 


Fruit and Nut Paperfruit_and_nut.jpg

And now for something completely different – paper made from fruit and nuts

We're really excited about this unique and distinctive range of eco-friendly coloured papers from Italy. Awarded the 2012 Luxe Pack In Green trophy as this year’s most innovative and environmentally friendly new packaging solution, up to 15% of virgin tree pulp has been replaced with organic residues from fruits and nuts. These inspire the paper’s colour and give it a natural and unique flecked appearance. Each of the seven papers in the range contains organic residue from corn, citrus fruit, kiwi, olive, almond, hazelnut and coffee beans. 

Uses and Benefits
Lower carbon footprint – the papers are produced using green, hydroelectric energy and have a carbon footprint that is 20% lower than a standard paper. Organic residues which would normally have found their way to for land fill are put to good use and 15% less virgin pulp is used. The paper is also FSC accredited and contains 30% post consumer recycled fibre.

The range is high end, full of Italian flair and suitable for all types of packaging and creative work – from bags to cards, book jackets to brochures. 

Available in weights from 120gsm to 350gsm.   Bellisimo!  

Poo Paper

And in the tradition of leaving the best 'till last – paper with added poo!

The ultimate in post consumer waste! Who’d have thought that poo could be put to such good use! A quick scan across the internet suggests that poo paper is available in many delephantpooping.jpgifferent flavours including elephant, rhino, reindeer, cow, horse, panda, sheep and donkey. 

Poo papers are natural, odourless papers that take their fibrous quality from the droppings of different herbivores. With diets rich in fibre and inefficient digestive systems that don’t really break down the vegetation, what goes in comes out – in abundance. Using poo as an alternative source of fibre to make the pulp makes poo paper eco-friendly and sustainable. No bleaches or harmful chemicals are used in the process, the poo is boiled down to make pulp, additional bulk is added in the form of other additional waste fibres such as banana or corn husks. The papers are coloured using natural and edible food colouring mixtures.

Rustic and full of character, poo papers are suitable for all sorts of stationery, craft projects.  Playful papers with a serious message!   

If you'd like more information or pricing to print your next project on any of these papers - please contact us at sales@imago.co.uk

Debbie Knight