The First Step to Recyclability: A 100% Stone Paper Notebook from Pebble Printing

Stone paper notebooks have been cropping up all over the world. From Sweden to Mexico, retailers have been marketing these notebooks to the most colorful success in the entire stone paper industry. One of the reasons for the rapid growth of stone paper notebooks is the material’s promising sustainability- stone paper uses no trees, no water, no chemicals, and produces 70% less carbon dioxide than traditional paper. But until now, there is one problem with stone paper notebooks and all hardcover stone paper products- they are not recyclable. The Pebble Printing Group is emphasizing the innovation of stone paper and developing a 100% stone paper version of traditional grey board products. It is not a perfect solution yet, but it’s the first big step in the right direction toward sustainability.

Traditional Grey Board

Current hardcover stone paper products use traditional cardboard (known as ‘grey board‘) to mount their covers. In the publishing industry, this board is usually called grey board. It’s traditionally manufactured in thicknesses of 1.5 – 3 mm. It is usually made of recycled, low quality paper fibers that are very stiff. This stiffness is how hardcover products retain their shape and quality. As a material, is also relatively cheap.

In the case of stone paper notebooks and books in general, a layer of stone paper is wrapped around this cardboard and glued in place. This gives the user the impression that the entire product is made of stone paper, when it’s really a nearly inseparable mix of cardboard and plastic.

Stone Board from Pebble

True to the spirit of sustainability and innovation, Pebble has developed a proprietary solution to traditional grey board. Our “stone board” as we call it, is completely constructed out of stone paper, and wrapped in stone paper. This means our notebooks are a mono-material solution to publishing products. Our stone board conforms to standard thicknesses that users would expect from traditional publishing products and do not compromise the stiffness expected from traditional grey board. They also make the notebook completely waterproof. Finally, the stone paper compositions lends a very soft touch and higher brightness than traditional grey board construction.

Further Improvements on Stone Board

Reaching true recyclability is a never-ending process of improvement. This stone paper board is not the ultimate solution, but a significant step toward creating stone paper products that are simpler to recycle.

The first important thing to note is that traditional hardcover books, whether paper or stone paper, have relatively low recyclability. In the case of traditional paper, the adhesive binding found in the cover and spine make hardcover books difficult to recycle. In addition to adhesive come elements like headbands, bookmarks, and various other accessories that can result in books going to landfill.

Hardcover books made from stone board face a similar challenge. Adhesive is used to bind books in the same process as traditional paper. The next improvement will come in searching for a suitable adhesive that dissolves well in water. We also recommend considering non-traditional binding methods that don’t require adhesive and sewing in the spine of a book. Further accessories that introduce other foreign materials to the product should also be avoided for the highest recyclability.

When recycling hardcover books, whether stone paper or tree-based paper, always separate the cover from the interior before recycling.

Other Applications of Stone Board

Stone board is not limited to notebooks. Stone board is a sustainable alternative to grey board in all applications. Sketchpads and notepads backed with grey board can be optimized with stone board as well as rectangular containers. Contact us today to inquire about your next stone paper project.