It all started as a school project, now they can make paper bags and packaging without cutting down trees and using the fall dry leaves. Valentyn Frechka was a student living in rural Ukraine. At that time he started a high school project in which he planned to extract high-quality cellulose from dried leaves so that he could make paper.
Years later, the young man leads an initiative called RE-leaf PAPER that produces paper bags and containers from fibre extracted from dead leaves.
“The idea is very simple. Things that are thought to be waste can be reused or recycled. Leaves are waste that needs to be removed from parks because they emit a lot of carbon as they rot, ” Frechka told Reuters.
The idea has been so successful that even Google has given it financial support so that it can continue to make a difference in the world and benefit the planet.
“Our innovative project Re-Leaf Paper Technology was recognized by Google as one of the best startups and will receive funding from the Google for Startups Foundation.
How does it work?
As a first step, they collect leaves in urban environments where they are considered waste. Later they clean the leaves and process them in a chemical reactor to extract the fibres.
The fibres are washed and ground in a process that does not use chemical components such as sulfur or chlorine. At the end the fibrous pulp is mixed with bio-based fillers to produce paper rolls.
All its production without feeling a single tree.
“ RE-leaf PAPER ” produced its first batch of stiff paper made with its system and has now started creating other products all from the idea of a high school kid. He was inspired by the forests and what he had at hand to create something that no one had dreamed of: making paper with leaves.
In search of a greener world.
With the help of his teacher Frechka he was able to complete his project and make it possible. The idea resulted from a coincidence when surrounded by the Carpathian forests and constantly looking for ways to prevent their felling, he concluded that fallen leaves as part of a tree can serve as a source of pulp for paper production.
This has become a good way to avoid the use of plastics and above all not to use felled trees in the process. Within the products that can be created there are an infinity of options that usually require paper: egg baskets, bags, paper and all of them are reintegrated into the soil as a biodegradable and compostable material like any leaf in the forest.