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Martel, Munro join campaign for treeless paper

Sustainable paper advocate Canopy has two new high-profile faces to add to its conservation initiative. Yann Martel and Alice Munro have partnered with the Vancouver-based not-for-profit to release special, signed editions of Life of Pi (Knopf Canada) and Dear Life (McClelland & Stewart) on “treeless” paper.

The collectors’ editions will be printed on the company’s straw-based paper, created from a blend of wheat straw, flax straw, and recycled paper. Dubbed Second Harvest Paper, it is made from straw left over after the grain harvest, and its production uses fewer chemicals and less energy and water than traditional paper.

The Martel and Munro reprints are part of a campaign to create an alternative to logging forests for paper. But they aren’t the first novelists to draw attention to the initiative. In October 2011, Margaret Atwood partnered with Canopy to print a special limited edition of In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (M&S), which became the first book in North America to be printed on straw paper.

The success of the collection prompted Winnipeg-based Prairie Pulp & Press to produce a similar paper for consumer use. Manufactured in India and made from 80 per cent straw and 20 per cent Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood fibre, Step Forward Paper became available in Staples stores in August.

Martel and Munro’s books are available exclusively via Canopy’s online store. Life of Pi was released today, while Dear Life (which can be pre-ordered) will be available by mid-April.

  • Jonathan Schmidt

    So two prominent Canadian authors are throwing their prestige behind a technology that will hurt Canadian businesses (logging and forestry) and benefit India. By the way, are workers there being paid equivalent wages with benefits as their Canadian counterparts? Seems to me the real lesson here is less about what will help sustain the planet than the fact that North American industries (publishers included) keep sourcing overseas where products and labour are much cheaper.

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