Recycling enthusiast Walter Mapepa says all the materials they use in making their paper are natural and come from agricultural produce.
Walter’s company Mapepa is into making products such as notebooks, page markers and packaging materials using organic or recycled matter.
He said while the world is moving toward the digital world, paper will always be useful somewhere along the line because it is a gift from nature to the world.
Some of the types of paper available on the market include wrapping or hygienic paper, absorbent paper, writing paper, printing paper, and packaging paper among many others.
Speaking on the sidelines of Climate Fridays which is hosted by Moto Republik, Walter said their methods of making paper ensure that no trees are cut and help to manage hazardous waste.
‘’All our fibres that we use are renewable, we replant them every season and they grow, and you grow the food from it. The tea or the crops and the waste material from those crops are used to produce the paper.
‘’So, there is no cutting of trees, there is no damaging of the environment, there is no chemical importation. There is no hazardous waste that needs to be managed to produce paper as compared to a commercial paper mill that requires bigger amounts of peroxides and chemicals to produce paper,’’ he said.
According to Walter, they use African tools such as pounding vessels (duri) and grinding stones (guyo) in the process to make their paper.
He said this reduces the amount of energy that is required, thereby not putting pressure on the environment.
‘’So, our process is a very natural and organic process using African tools like duri and guyo. Of course, we have mechanical equipment which we have designed that does require electricity that can continue to produce paper without using diesel, petrol, or electricity,’’ he said.
He said there is a strong demand for the organic paper they are making internationally, adding that they are being let down by productivity which is currently low.
‘’Our markets have grown from strength to strength. Our biggest challenge is productivity, the international interest is enormous especially for African paper because it’s a new entry.
‘’You have western paper; you have eastern paper, and you also have papyrus but that was 2000 years ago. So, African paper technology is a new entry and it’s a very competitive one especially when the government has embraced industrial hemp,’’ he said