What price, sustainability? Try C$250-C$500 a pop. These were the prices recently charged for special collector’s editions of Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” and Alice Munro’s “Dear Life,” respectively. The signed special editions, sold as part of a fundraiser for Vancouver environmental organization Canopy, are printed on paper produced by Cascades from a mix of chlorine-free wheat and flax straw, and post-consumer recycled content.
Both Canadian authors agreed to participate because they are anxious to see the publishing industry in Canada embrace alternative paper sources; currently almost half of all trees that are logged there go into papermaking, according to The Globe and Mail. As Canopy’s executive director explains, straw has “half the ecological footprint” of tree-based paper.
Since its launch five years ago, Canopy’s Second Harvest campaign has garnered support from more than 700 publishers, corporate paper consumers and printers, according to the organization. Yet with the multimillion dollar investment necessary to retrofit their paper machines, paper companies will require a lot more convincing that there’s a market for straw paper out there willing to vote with their dollars, Canadian or otherwise.