Danielle Hanna, Global Animal
Actor and environmental activist Woody Harrelson has invented a new paper option using only 20 percent wood—the most eco-friendly paper to date. The co-founder of Step Forward Paper claims a tree is saved for every two boxes of their “green” paper purchased. The copy paper is available now in the United States exclusively at Staples and the price is comparable to that of recycled paper.
The paper is made using only 20 percent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified tree pulp. The other 80 percent is made from used wheat straw, a natural byproduct of farming. In the next three to five years, the company plans to open its own eco-mill in Winnipeg, Canada that will use completely non-wood materials.
“The paper industry is a 200 billion dollar a year industry and the paper demand right now is 400 million metric tons per year and that’s growing. In fifteen years that’s going to double in spite of this idea of a paperless office,” Harrelson said in an interview with Forbes.
Deforestation continues to wreak havoc on our ecosystem, disrupting carbon dioxide levels and the water cycle and eliminating the habitats of countless wildlife.
Woody’s passion for working to help save the environment began at an early age, writing a fifty-page paper about environmental degradation and deforestation at the age of twelve.
“Timber companies were and are allowed to come into the forest and cut down our trees out of our national forest, we build the roads for them and our tax dollars heavily subsidize them,” Harrelson said.
A long-time vegan, Harrelson is also the co-founder of another environmentally friendly business venture—a vegan food delivery service called Yoganics.
In 1992, he worked with Greenpeace to protest a bill allowing six hundred million acres of forests in Montana to be available to loggers. During the campaign, Harrelson said he realized that fighting to save particular threatened forests does not solve the overall problem of deforestation. Upon disapproval for one location, logging companies can easily pursue permitting elsewhere.
Harrelson realized the only way to make a significant difference was by changing the policies and other systems controlling the paper industry.
“I really do think we can make a huge difference on this planet. We as humans created this situation that we are in today and we can also get ourselves out of it,” Harrelson told Mother Nature Network.
Harrelson and his partner Jeff Golfman, an expert on creating non-wood paper, have been working together on this project for 15 years.
The company’s website has a digital counter you can view that tracks how much the company’s efforts are benefiting the environment, in terms of trees saved and pounds of greenhouse gases conserved.
“Right now, we’re close to 3,000 trees that we’ve saved but we’ve only launched a few months ago,” said Jeff Golfman.
With innovative and optimistic individuals like Harrelson and Golfman doing their part to modify the way we utilize our environment’s raw materials, this shift to non-wood paper will certainly benefit our animal allies living in areas threatened with deforestation as well as all across the world.