Stone Paper Company sought credibility for its unique sustainable approach to
paper production also known as Rockstock.
Stone Paper Company
The Stone Paper Company, winners of the National Energy Globe Award 2015, sought credibility for its unique sustainable approach to paper production also known as Rockstock.
Rockstock is the registered trade-name of a high quality coated paper that is manufactured from ground down waste stone and off-cuts used in the building industry. It contains no wood fibre.
Having spent most of his working life in the New Zealand paper and printing industries, Stone Paper Company Principal Alan Good says offering an environmental alternative to paper made from pulp or synthetic paper had its challenges.
His two big challenges were learning about a totally innovative product that we can write on (while under water or eating a veggie-burger) and bringing the product to market while educating an industry that assumed it was a synthetic product.
Bringing this ground-breaking approach in paper production to New Zealand took twelve years and stemmed from a chat with one of Good’s paper suppliers who told him about a stone paper product being developed in Taiwan.
Good’s desire to identify an environmental alternative found him on a plane to a south Taiwan mill and five years later the rest, as they say, is history.
Rockstock is tree free paper that helps preserve forests worldwide that are rapidly decreasing in size. Good says “The extensive harvesting and digesting of trees is having a deep impact on global climate change. By using ground up rock as the primary content instead of tree fibre, Rockstock replaces a limited and required resource with a superfluous mineral, considered as production waste in other industries.”
Rockstock is a non-toxic, inert substance. It is a rich mineral (calcium carbonate) paper. The small amount of binder is PE which is non-toxic and recyclable. It has low carbon emission and no air borne, water borne, solid waste or carcinogenic by-product.
The company positions its factories close to quarries to lower transport costs and emissions. There is no water used in the process, whereas pulp and paper processing can use thousands of gallons of water per tonne of paper.
Good says “The early adopters are companies that have sustainability programmes in place and realise the product improves its own sustainability credentials.”
“It is a great product. It is water proof, grease proof, freezer and food grade, so it’s great for products like soap wrappers. For example: Tip Top has used it as a coupon inside ice cream. It adheres to plastic as an in-mould label, so the container can be recycled without having to remove stickers. It is used on products such as airline boarding passes, tray mats and luggage tags,” he says.
This innovative example of how to reuse “waste” won the company this year’s National Energy Globe Award New Zealand. The Rockstock submission was selected as the best project of New Zealand.
From the very start, the environmental benefits of the Rockstock product was emphasised. However, the company needed a way to communicate those benefits to customers.
Good and Rockstock’s other Principal Rob Fenwick, CNZM, contacted the Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) team as the ecolabel was the most recognised in New Zealand.
“You need credibility when you bring a product into the market. We wanted an ecolabel that New Zealand consumers and business would relate to. ECNZ is the strongest ecolabel in New Zealand. New Zealanders can relate to it. It is a strong brand and it represents quality.”
ECNZ conducted a full lifecycle assessment which included an audit of the mill in Taiwan. The assessment is a robust, independent review and is verified annually.
The Stone Paper Company uses the ECNZ label on its website, in social media and in advertising as appropriate. It also uses the label in correspondence such as its newsletter which is distributed to a database of 2,500 agents and
The Auckland-based Stone Paper Company secured the agency for the product in 2009 and branded the product Rockstock for the New Zealand and Pacific markets.
B&F Papers were appointed distributors in New Zealand in 2011. The principals of Stone Paper Company are Rob Fenwick and Alan Good.
The stone paper product has been under intensive development by one of Taiwan’s most innovative business leaders since 1999. It was first exported to the United States and Japan in 2008 where it attracted customers away from wood based and synthetic paper for corporate promotional and stationery applications.