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The people behind the paper: How Lush gift wrap is made

We write on it, wrap with it, we even read from it - paper is a universal material used around the world, but have you ever thought about the impact of our paper habit on the planet? Here’s why regenerative and recycled options are used to wrap up your favourite Lush gift boxes.

Trees are amazing, they regulate our climate, clean rivers, protect freshwater supplies and create rain. Forests carry the majority of the world’s biodiversity and provide an incredible amount of species with a home - as well as providing us with pulp - the material used to make paper.

The papermaking industry often comes with some serious environmental consequences, and is one of the leading causes of deforestation. Trees commonly used for virgin paper making (paper manufactured without the use of any recycled fibres), such as Acacia and Eucalyptus, are often extremely thirsty and dry out the land. This has a significant impact on the biodiversity of the soil, water quality and the environment and many of the trees used for papermaking also come from forests that are endangered or irreplaceable.

And while in recent years the UK has reduced its country's paper trail, a massive 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard is still used annually in the UK. Worse still, half the paper we use is sent to landfill after one use. To put that into perspective - the amount of paper sent to landfill each year would fill 103,000 double decker buses. This then rots, producing harmful greenhouse gases which are released into the atmosphere.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. It takes 70% less energy to recycle and reuse paper, compared to making it from raw materials. Paper can be recycled anywhere from five to seven times, so it makes sense to recycle and reuse paper as much as we can.

Which is why you can be safe in the knowledge that your best-loved Lush gift boxes are made from recycled and regenerative paper.

Paper making is a skillful art and our craftspeople are no exception. As much thought goes into where the paper on Lush gift boxes is sourced as the ingredients inside. Here’s a little more info about the people (and the positive stories) behind them

Recycled paper waste with banana fibre - Made in Zambia and UK

One Planet Café’s banana fibre was born from a desire to help with social and environmental matters. Banana fibre is a completely renewable material as the stems mature in just one year. The banana fibre sheets are free from chemicals and made at One Planet’s Green Factory in Zambia.

One Planet Café is helping to drive social change. The organisation have reduced deforestation and poaching of endangered animals in the area, helped over 150 children to attend school and provided the community with clean water, malaria nets, solar lamps, health education and medical support.

The high quality, Fair Trade and ethical banana fibre sheet can be turned into paper in collaboration with Frogmore Paper Mill, UK.

Run by the conservation and education trust - Apsley Paper Trail, there has been a mill at Frogmore, for over 1000 years. As the birthplace of paper’s industrial revolution, the mill helped to revolutionise the world of paper and continues to make paper today. Frogmore make paper from 75% recycled material and 25% banana fibre produced by One Planet Café. This beautiful paper adds a finishing touch to many Lush gift boxes. The mill creates bespoke papers from all sorts of interesting and unusual materials such as seeds, petals, denim, banana and even animal poo.

AKAYA paper -  Made in Japan

Golden eagles make use of open landscapes for hunting. Recently, an increase in mono plantations of cedar trees is making it harder for these birds to hunt and breed, leaving the eagles in danger of extinction.

A project in Minakami town, Japan is helping to regenerate fields for golden eagles by cutting down tree farms to create more open landscapes and regenerating mono plantations back to natural forest.

Near to the forest, a small factory make castanets (a percussion instrument) using the sustainable wood. The project then uses leftover wood shavings from the process to make paper for the Lush Japanese markets, creating a relationship where the forest, animals and people can coexist. 

Fukushima Cotton Stem Paper - Made in Japan

The organic cotton used to create this paper is grown by a regenerative project called Otento-Sun in the Fukushima region of Japan. Lush have collaborated with the organisation and launched several Knot Wraps over the years. This paper is used for Lush gift boxes in the Japanese markets. 

The project have discovered a way to turn the fibrous cotton stem, which would usually be disposed of, into paper. The paper produced is made using 20% of the cotton stem and 80% recycled paper pulp and results in a unique finish. The process is helping to regenerate the environment following the nuclear disaster and continues Japanese papermaking traditions.

Khadi Papers, Upcycled cotton paper - Made in India

Khadi Papers specialises in handmade paper, working with producers in South India. The company generates sustainable, long-term employment in the local community, supplying over 60 men and women from local villages with a regular and reliable income. Female employees also gain independence and respect in their community through having their own income.

The paper made at Khadi’s mill is created from cotton off-cuts from T-shirt manufacture. Mixed with water, the offcuts are mechanically beaten to produce a pulp that can then be made into paper. The papermaking process is completely organic and free from bleach or other harmful materials, meaning the run-off water can then be used to irrigate the onsite farm where mangos, bananas and organic vegetables are grown.

Khadi Papers, Renewable lokta paper - Made in Nepal

Khadi’s lokta paper is made in Nepal. Lokta, an evergreen shrub, grows in the Himalayan foothills and is a renewable resource. The outer bark of the plant can be turned into a durable handmade paper, which is dip dyed by hand and used for wrapping up your lovely Lush goodies.

Papermaking takes place in Bastipur, in the lower foothills, where the warmer climate allows the paper to dry in the sun all year round. This was originally set up as a social program for marginalised women from the area. The paper is then finished in Bansbari, Kathmandu, where it is hand dyed.

100% Recycled pulp and paper - Made in France

This paper mill specialises in using waste paper to create brilliant white Cocoon 100% recycled paper.

Generating recycled paper also helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, as paper can be recycled five to seven times. Pulp and water are combined in the vat tower using treated water from the local river that runs through the mill. This water is used around seven times before being treated again and returned to the river.

Explore the kaleidoscopic gifts collection to find pretty parcels in all shapes, sizes and colours. For more information on the Lush ethical buying policy and the work that the Lush buying team put into sourcing incredible materials that look after people, the planet and animals - head here.  

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