Can't Get Blood from a Stone, But Can You Get… Paper?

Can't Get Blood from a Stone, But Can You Get… Paper?

Kathryn Wright
Jul 26, 2010

Terraskin is a fairly new tree-free paper product that is made from a combination of 75% mineral powder (from stone) and 25% non-toxic resin. The manufacturing process doesn't require water or trees, doesn't use toxic bleaches, and the manufacturer claims that Terraskin uses 25-30% less ink in printing than traditional tree-based papers. Is this a viable alternative to regular paper?

Features of Terraskin include:

  • Crease-proof and water-resistant.
  • Fiberless paper that requires up to 30% less ink than traditional papers.
  • Fiberless paper also allows for crisper printing and no ink bleeding resulting in higher quality printing.
  • Recyclable and degrades quickly in 3 to 9 months back into mineral powder.
  • Zero water pollution and trees used in processing.
  • No toxic bleaching agents are used.
  • Cradle to Cradle Silver Award Winner.
  • Terraskin has been adopted by by the MOMA Gift Shop for shopping bags and Burt's Bees for soap packaging, and due to its water-resistant quality it allows the company to eliminate the secondary inside wrapper, using less packaging and adding to its green cred.

The sales pitch explains what a vast improvement Terraskin is for the environment compared with traditional tree-based papers. While we love the idea of finding an alternative to trees for paper, the sleek marketing materials conveniently leave out any explanation of the process used to make the mineral powder and where it comes from, leaving us to wonder if the resources and processes used to make this product are as wonderful as they sound.

Overall, Terraskin does have some incredible benefits and sounds almost too good to be true. That just leaves us with one question: does paper still beat rock in rock, paper, scissors?

For more information check out the Terraskin website.

(Images: 1. Stones, wikipedia commons; 2. MOMA Packaging, printmag.com; 3. Burt's Bee soap wrapper, burtsbees.com)

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