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Paper Evolution - A New Way To Recycle

Updated: Monday, June 23 2014, 04:11 PM CDT

 There's no way around it. We use paper everyday. But there could be a way to use it and better protect the environment.

Newschannel at Nine's Rebekah Thurston shows us a new, eco-friendly approach.

Both professors teach at the University of Illinois and both hope to make a big impact on paper in the midwest.

They're trading trees for plant fiber and have created a new, eco-friendly process that starts on the farm.

Eric Benson and Steve Kostell are the co-founders of "fresh press," an agri-fiber research studio at U of I. In their lab, paper is made from the crop waste or what's left after farmers harvest their land.
They say agri-fiber production is safer for our environment than current tree-fiber methods, and use it to create all types of paper products.

"We're really interested in pulp from these different fibers, whether it be corn, soy, prarie grasses to be used in the egg cartons that you buy at the store, the coffee cup holders you get at restaurants."

Benson says that agri-fiber paper could also become a revenue stream for farmers. After they sell the food from their harvest, they could also sell the waste. He adds that "fresh press" uses fiber from plants that are "in-season."

It is a truly revolutionary idea.

Right now -- paper products account for 32 to 33 percent of our landfills from packaging alone.

What about jobs that center around paper manufacturing?

Benson says "fresh press" hopes their efforts will help rejuvenate the paper manufacturing economy in the Midwest as well.

Paper Evolution - A New Way To Recycle

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