The pulp and paper industry received a boost today when the Governments of Canada and Manitoba delivered a $400,000 investment to support research and development of high quality, eco-friendly paper made from agricultural crop byproducts.
“The development of new products, such as innovative eco-paper, is often the springboard to the success of new companies,” said the Honourable Stan Struthers, Manitoba Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. “It is especially exciting when business ventures make use of agricultural byproducts, which in turn creates economic and environmental benefits right here in rural Manitoba.”
“Using technology to produce paper products from agricultural byproducts is an exciting venture – it’s innovative, good for the environment, and creates new market opportunities for industry and farmers,” said Member of Parliament Candice Hoeppner (Portage-Lisgar) on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Our government is committed to working with farmers and the agriculture industry to keep communities across southern Manitoba and the central region growing strong.”
“We just finished testing the first round of prototype paper (3,000 sheets) with commercial paper buyers across North America and they were very well received. It’s tree-free, chlorine-free paper manufactured completely from Manitoba straw and the market is excited about it,” says eco-entrepreneur Jeff Golfman, president and co-founder of Prairie Pulp and Paper. “The support of the provincial and federal governments will enable us to make the next leap to produce up to 200,000 sheets of paper for further testing with potential future customers.”
As the research and product development progresses through the next phases, the long-term goal of Prairie Pulp and Paper is to build North America’s first commercial scale non-wood pulp and paper mill in rural Manitoba. The future mill is expected to produce 200,000 tonnes of paper annually, create employment for 300 to 500 people, and would require a capital investment of approximately $600 million.
To date, the provincial and federal governments have invested $575,000 in Prairie Pulp and Paper through programs including Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council (MRAC), Sustainable Development Innovations Fund (SDIF), Technology Commercialization Program, and Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative to support the original prefeasibility study to develop a lab-scale prototype paper product that meets industry specifications.