Dec. 13 - A British start-up believes it has the answer to the problem of paper waste at Christmas time. Last year, an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper was wasted in Britain alone, but the company says their biodegradable wrapping paper implanted with vegetable seeds is an environmentally responsible alternative that continues to give even when Christmas is over. Jim Drury reports.
It could be the answer to an annual Christmas problem - the mounds of paper thrown away once the gifts are unwrapped. Each sheet of Eden's Paper is embossed with 700 vegetable seeds. After it's torn open, the paper can simply be planted in the ground and the seeds, left to grow. It's been designed by British creators, Philtone Litho Ltd and marketing firm BEAF, who say they're giving wrapping paper real value by keeping it out of the trash can...although Philtone owner Phil Mercer admits the initial test runs were a challenge. SOUNDBITE (English) PHIL MERCER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PHILTONE LITHO LTD, SAYING: "You couldn't print on the sheet because the seeds would get crushed.....so you have to physically put a sheet to it after the seeds have been done (added) and that limits what you can do." The solution was to emboss sheets of organic seeds inside a layer of biodegradable tissue paper. SOUNDBITE (English) PHIL MERCER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PHILTONE LITHO LTD, SAYING: "These are zipped together like a zip, exactly like a zip. ...on each sheet of paper is 700 seeds, which is a phenomenal amount of seeds. They don't have to use all that sheet in one time. Obviously you can use it in bits or give some of it away, do what they want but the idea is that rather than throw this wrapping paper away, it's got a use and you're gonna get 700 carrots or 700 broccoli." The sheets come in five types - carrot, tomato, broccoli, chilli, and onion. They're environmentally friendly, using 100 percent recycled paper and vegetable-based ink, so they won't harm the soil. BEAF innovations strategist Nik Venios thinks the product could be a Christmas hit. SOUNDBITE (English) NIK VENIOS, BEAF INNOVATIONS STRATEGIST, SAYING: "It's almost like a gift wrapped in a gift. It appeals to a wide range of consumers, it can go in a lot of different retail stores, and it's a great product both on an educational level and also from a consumer perspective." The paper is not yet available commercially, although the team says individual sheets can be purchased via the company's website. Once fully funded, the range will be extended to herb, fruit and wild flower seeds next year. Its creators are confident they've sown the seeds of a fruitful new business.