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Most climate-friendly on the market

– about what’s inside our notebooks

In one of our most popular products, our classic hardcover notebook, we have chosen to use paper from Lessebo Paper. The paper mill is located in the deep forests of southern Sweden and has a long history, stretching all the way back to 1658. What distinguishes Lessebo Paper is not only the high quality but also their great care for the environment in every step of production.

At Bookbinders Design we make products in the most responsible way we can, and we choose materials and suppliers with great care. Read our interview with Ebba Ingvarsson, Communication manager at Lessebo Paper, and learn more about why your choice of paper matters.

The paper that we use in our notebooks is uncoated and age-resistant – what does that mean?

Uncoated paper means that it doesn't have a coating, which is an agent that makes the surface smoother. Uncoated paper feels more rough than coated paper. Age-resistant means that the paper has been tested according to the standard ISO 9706. This standard test the durability of the paper and makes sure that it doesn’t yellow or get fragile with time. Paper used for newspapers or pocketbooks isn’t age-resistant, which you might notice after a sunny day – it’ll get more yellow and fragile left out in the sun. That’s why it’s better to choose an age-resistant paper when you want to save a text for a longer period.

What are the biggest environmental problems when it comes to paper production and how do you avoid them?

The three main challenges are the choice of raw material, energy source and water.

  1. The raw material in paper is important, both for the quality but also for the environment. We only use Swedish pulp from sustainable managed forests. This means that the forests are being managed and cultivated in a responsible way with replanting and conserving important biotopes. You also look at the social impact of the forest, such as working conditions, indigenous rights, cultural values, and the right to use the forest for recreation. For our paper we primarily use wood pulp from birch. Because we use Swedish pulp, it results in a shorter transport distance.

  2. We can see that the choice of energy impacts the carbon dioxide emissions. Popular energy sources among other paper mills are natural gas and coal. We, on the other hand, choose to only buy renewable energy. When you produce paper, you need a lot of heat for the pulp to dry into paper sheets. The heat energy we use is steam that has been generated by woodchips from local sawmills. Woodchips are produced from the parts of the tree that the sawmills can’t use for other wood products like timber or paper pulp. Woodchips that come from sustainable forests are considered a CO2-neutral source. The excess heat from our production supplies the houses in Lessebo with district heating.

  3. Lessebo Paper is located along a water stream. In the paper mill we have closed water systems which means that we reuse the water. When the water can’t be reused anymore it gets cleaned in our treatment plant before it’s released back into nature.

Why do you use wood from birch in your production?

This kind of wood gives the paper a natural whiteness which results in a less intensive bleaching process. Birch pulp also requires less energy-intensive processing.

You have many certifications; you’re for example FSC and PEFC certified. Recently you received the Cradle to Cradle Certified at Gold level, as the first paper mill in the world. What does this certification mean?

Cradle to Cradle is a very demanding and extensive certification that analyses the paper's environmental impact from a life-cycle perspective: from the raw material in the forest to recycling the product. That means that logistics from mill to printing, what goes on in the printing house and the product’s usage and recycling, are included. Cradle to Cradle investigates the paper’s performance in five different categories (Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable energy & carbon management, Water Stewardship and Social fairness). The product is then rated in each category depending on how well it meets the high requirements of Cradle to Cradle.

The final rate is the lowest rating that the product has received in the five different categories. You can’t receive a higher final rating than the lowest rating on each category. To get the gold award, like we have, gold standards must be met in all categories. The ratings are Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. No paper has been awarded Platinum yet.

Why should one choose paper from Lessebo Paper?

The paper we produce and sell is one of the most climate-friendly paper on the market, which we’re very proud of. We use local raw materials from sustainably managed forests. We take great pride in the high quality of our paper – the fact that many luxurious brands use our paper proves it.

Why do you think it’s important to preserve paper production in Sweden?

The paper and pulp industry are a very large and important industry for Sweden, partly because it creates employment opportunities, but also because there’s a lot of research going on to find more sophisticated, climate-friendly, and energy-efficient ways of producing paper.

Another benefit of preserving paper production in Sweden is that we have big areas of forest in which the timber can be used for paper. This results in short transport distances and a more effective forestry. A lot of the paper mills in Sweden also have a big focus on the environment and this is worth preserving.

We have been producing paper in Lessebo for more than 300 years, the town has grown up around the mill and the industry has a big cultural and historic significance for the community.

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