Stone paper - not as recyclable as you might think

24/05/2018 2:00 p.m.

​​'Stone paper' has been shown on TV as being a product that is better for the environment than paper produced from wood pulp. While that may be the case with regards​ to how it is produced, unfortunately it can't be recycled in Canterbury.

Stone paper is calcium carbonate bonded with HDPE (number 2 plastics). It is classed as a plastic, not paper, BUT it is a mixed-material and we can't accept it for recycling in the kerbside collection bin or at the resource recovery parks.

EcoCentral, which processes our paper and plastics, says stone paper would most likely be a contaminate in the mixed plastics stream, and while it appears it can be recycled in either number 2 plastics or back into stone paper, for this to be successful it would need to be collected and processed separately to their recycling processes. There is no collection channel in Australiasia to send the waste paper back to for recycling.

​​The suppliers state that stone paper is photo-degradable, reverting to calcium carbonate in extended sunshine and the resin is absorbed by the atmosphere without harmful effects. It will take 12 to 18 months to break down, dependent on which product is involved, and as it is not bio-degradable it cannot be composted.

Please check flyers, pamphlets and glossy ‘paper’ bags once you’ve finished with them to see if they’re made from stone paper. If they are, they can’t be recycled but will have to go in your rubbish bin.

Stone paper often has these characteristics:

  • ​Strong and largely tear-resistent pages, unlike regular and/or ​​glossy paper
  • Grease and oilproof
  • Has waterproof qualities and can be written on when wet​​​
Page reviewed: 24 May 2018 3:04pm