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Sources of fiber for tree-free paper include:
- agricultural residues (e.g. sugarcane bagasse, husks and straw)
- fiber crops and wild plants, such as bamboo, kenaf, hemp, jute, and flax
- textiles and cordage wastes
Non-fibre sources include:
Paper manufacturing is highly competitive, with historically tight margins and small operating profits. As a result, the raw materials used to make paper have to be very cost effective, using cheap, scalable renewable resources, coupled with relatively inexpensive ways to deliver large quantities to market. Until recently,[when?] commercial tree farming, has been shaped to account for these tight operating margins and supply cost limitations. Virtually all paper, however, requires massive cutting, replanting and re-cutting of wide swaths of forest. These limitations have made wood pulped farm grown supply stock the paper industry's overwhelming scalable raw material of choice.
The paper industry's answer to "tree free" paper has been focused on "recycled waste paper" as a tree free alternative even though the vast majority of "recycled waste paper" originally started its life cycle from tree grown pulp.
Fiber dense agricultural residues, have been known as a pulp substitute for years. Commercial low cost production technology coupled with limited resource abundancy plus low cost transportation to commercial business markets had created a barrier, virtually relegating true "tree free" paper from developing into anything more than small niche markets with even smaller niche market players. Furthermore, grasses and annual plants often have high silica contents. Silica is problematic as it consumes pulping chemicals and produces fly ash when burned.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- "Treefree 101". Retrieved 2008-10-15.