Friday, November 25, 2011

CPL turns grass into paper

Source: The National, Thursday 24th November 2011

A NEW simple techno­logy that turns “kunai” grass into paper is here and is capable of putting money straight into the rural people’s pockets.
It is a “first” for PNG and the Pacific region, according to City Pharmacy Group, which has pioneered the invention at its headquarters in Gerehu, NCD.
It will officially launch the technology at the Waigani Central Stop & Shop Supermarket car park. It has been quietly trailing paper production for several months.
The kunai grass paper making project was spearheaded by Mahesh Patel, chairman of CPL Group.
The company was working at and creating a niche market for its finished grass-turned-paper products.
“Papua New Guinea imports tonnes of paper from overseas to meet the ever increasing demands of consumers, which is costly for the country.
“For the first time in the Pacific region, CPL Group, PNG’s biggest retailing group, has initiated a local PNG paper production by way of using PNG’s natural resource - kunai grass - which grows everywhere and is very eco-friendly,” the company said yesterday.
“CPL’s vision for the project is to focus on using PNG’s natural resources to assist the local people mainly in the villages and outskirts of cities to generate additional income to sustain their livelihoods. 
“Kunai grass is not considered valuable in the country ... it is not of much usage except for its use in the traditional huts in some places,” CPL said.
“There is a hidden multi-purpose value in the grass which is not yet known.
“The latest findings and invention supported by CPL will be of historical importance in making a successful achievement in the region.
Not only will it promote PNG as a pioneer in using the latest simple technique to produce the paper based materials, but also promote the country as the leading paper producer in the region, and in the world one day with economic gain globally,” CPL said
The company said the project aimed to involve local people and assist them to start and operate micro-enterprises in their own local settings using kunai grass.
Technical expertise brought in will train and pass on the knowledge and skills to replicate this project at the micro level (rural villages), which will enable them to sustain and improve their lives from revenue generation.
“This paper project is unique in that it uses simple and eco-friendly materials and technology.
“In doing so, it contributes to preservation of trees and general environment throughout the country,” CPL said.
The paper production process involves boiling of the grass and then put through a grinder to produce pulp and then it is separated from the water through a filter mask.
After that, the pulp is mixed with CMC water (sodium salt or carboxymathyl cellulode) which smoothens the pulp and mixture and strengthens it before it is transferred into a paper frame and levelled to required thickness/weight and sun-dried for two hours to get paper.

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