Friday, October 9, 2009

Green printing tip no. 18: What is rock paper, and why is it considered a Green paper?

We have another tip for you on our weekly series of green printing tips, where we bring you information on green printing in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today Greg is introducing a type of a paper that is one of the rising stars in the world of green printing:

What is rock paper, and why is it considered a Green paper?

Tip #18

Rock paper? Yes! I'm not sure how many have heard of this paper but rock paper is made from approximately 85% Limestone and Calcium Carbonate. I call it recycled rock paper, since it is made from torn down buildings.

Here are some of the things you should know and take into consideration about rock paper:

The environmental aspects

  1. There is no water used in making this line of paper. With a world wide water shortage, this is becoming as big an environmental plus, as landfill waste.
  1. There is a huge savings in energy to make rock paper.

What are the most common uses of rock paper?

Rock paper is available in 4PT and 5 PT for labels, soap wraps, and brochures, and heavier weights, like 16 PT, for boxes, pocket folders, business cards, etc. It looks like dull coated paper, and prints like coated paper. The ink colors are vibrant, and pop out.

Why should I use it anyway and not recycled paper?

Rock paper is terrific for labels that need to last a long time, and brochures that need additional strength. The rock paper is tear resistant, as well as being waterproof. Also,this paper has a distinct feel. When I give out business cards on rock paper, everyone comments on how cool this line feels. It has a satin type feel.

Is it more expensive to use rock paper in comparison with recycled paper?

Rock paper is less expensive than other durable sheets such as Yupo, the paper used in the award winning book by William McDonough and Michael Braungart "Cradle to Cradle". It is 70% less than Yupo. Compared to the higher priced, coated recycled grades and our 96 brightness lines in 100% PCW, it is approximately 20% higher in price, which may equate to a print price of 10% more.

Any cons?
Rock paper can only be printed via offset. However, we have found that we can print on an ink jet press, and I am making an accordion folded calender for next year. It will last the year, easily, in my wallet.

We specialize in printing on the rock paper line, TerraSkin. We use vegetable based inks and we like to seal the inks with a water based AQ. If you want to try rock paper for your next printing job or you want further information about it, please email me at

Also, if you have any questions you would like us to address in future tips please email us to .

Latest tips:

Green Printing Tip #17 - How do you save money on your next printing job?

Green Printing Tip #16 - Can green printing be done on a rush basis?

Green Printing Tip #15 - Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

You can find links to all the tips we published so far on our green printing tips page, which is part of our green printing tools & resources.

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website -

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing!