Used PET bottles can be converted into mineral paper using an efficient new process developed by a group of young Mexicans.
Science news site AlphaGalileo reports that the resulting paper, also called peta paper, is biodegradable, waterproof and meets quality standards required to print books, boxes and general stationery items.
"We manufacture ecological paper created with recycled plastic bottles, calcium carbonate and stone. We don't use water or chemicals, such as chlorine. The mineral paper is stronger than the standard, you can not break it with your hands, is waterproof, has the quality of being photodegradable and only absorbs the necessary amount of ink when printing," explained Ever Adrian Nava, co-founder of a company called Cronology.
Making one ton of paper using Cronology's technology saves up to 20 trees and 56,000 liters of water. The production process is also 15 percent cheaper because it doesn't use chemicals.
One ton of mineral paper is made from 235 kilograms of PET pellets, which are turned into a "paste" and then formed into large sheets. After use, the paper degrades in the environment in just six months.
Companies in Spain and Taiwan are already manufacturing peta paper with similar processes, but the Cronology system is said to be four times cheaper.
Ever Nava and his colleague Erick Zamudio hope their technology will reduce production costs and avoid deforestation.
Mexico currently produces 700,000 tons of paper every year to meet local needs.