What is the best alternative to regular paper?
Etched Stone Paper Vs. Yupo
Yupo, a synthetic paper company, has been around for over 40 years, gaining popularity among artists around the world.
In fact, within the art community, Yupo has become the dominant player for decades due to their ability to offer waterproof, recyclable, tear-resistant and chemical-resistant plastic paper.
In this article, we compare the benefits and drawbacks of Yupo paper in comparison to Etched stone paper.
Yupo produces synthetic paper made from 100% polypropylene which has become highly acclaimed among artists whose main form of medium includes watercolors, graphite, or acrylic paint. The company responsible for producing Yupo, Yupo Corporation, is owned by Mitsubishi Chemical and Oji Holdings, and claims Yupo synthetic paper to be environmentally friendly.
But to what extent is Yupo paper actually environmentally friendly?
Doubts to this claim begin when considering the actual makeup of Yupo paper. Petroleum is Yupo’s primary material.
Disregarding the manufacturing process for a moment, the good news is that Yupo paper is in fact recyclable. ♻️
According to any google search, polypropylene - or PP for short - is in fact recyclable. However... dig a bit further and you find that the majority of PP simply does not get recycled. A whopping 97% completely avoids the recycling bins altogether for several reasons.
Most residential recycling facilities are not capable of recycling PP. Plus, the quality of PP can only withstand so many episodes of recycling before it becomes unusable. After each recycling sessions, the polymer within PP loses its flexibility and strength. As a result, a significant amount of Yupo products actually end up in a landfill where one single sheet can take around 20-30 years to decompose.
This information ultimately weakens Yupo’s eco-friendly claims. To add to this, the manufacturing process of PP requires petroleum and natural gas which emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses during production. Considering the fact that Yupo currently holds 70% of the alternative paper market share, the reality of the environmental impact of their products is something of concern.
So, are there any contenders on the near horizon? Maybe...
Stone paper is a new product on the market and one which has the potential to become the default alternative to regular paper due to its eco-friendly production process and unique qualities, such as bleed-proof pages that do not buckle when in contact with water.
Unlike Yupo which is made of 100% plastic, stone paper is made from 80% recycled carbon carbonate and 20% HDPE.
Carbon Carbonate is found in shells, chalk, and limestone, in fact, it is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth accounting for about 4% of the Earth's crust. The carbon carbonate used in stone paper comes from construction waste such as offcuts of marble, stone and tile. HDPE accounts for the remaining 20% which serves as a binding element. HDPE, like PP, is a plastic, but there are two striking differences between the PP used in YUPO and the HDPE used in Etched stone paper.
First off, the amounts! Yupo is 100% PP whereas stone paper is only 20% or less HDPE.
Secondly, HDPE is the easiest resin to recycle in the world! ♻️
HDPE is regarded as an environmentally friendly plastic and is listed on the US Green Building Council as a material that can aid new or existing buildings/homes to become sustainable accommodations.
At first glance, stone paper seems like an excellent alternative to the self-acclaimed environmentally friendly Yupo, but the pressing question is…do artists enjoy working with it?
The answer happens to be an overwhelming yes… stone paper performs strikingly well in all categories dominated by Yupo - watercolors, graphite, and acrylic paint, as well as other mediums, such as soft pastels, colored pencils, markers, and oil paint. Etched stone paper is smooth to write on, colors are naturally more vibrant thanks to the natural white hue of limestone, washable, buckle-proof, bleed-proof, and tear-resistant.
The only category that Yupo exceeds Etched Stone Paper in is in tear-resistance. Yupo tends to be more tear-resistant since it is, as you know, 100% plastic.
On all fronts, including a manufacturing perspective, stone paper enjoys the environmental benefits alleged by Yupo; no trees are cut down and repurposing is possible. Plus, Etched stone paper uses 80% less electricity, does not use water, bleach, or acids during the production process, has a 60% lower carbon footprint than regular paper, and uses 80% less plastic than YUPO while using the most recyclable plastic.
So which is better? Well now that you have our input, that’s for you to decide.
Try Etched Stone Paper for yourself: