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Designer uses trash to develop a revolutionary material with durability that rivals traditional wood: 'The material has potential'

The versatility of the material allows it to be "used in a wide range of industries."

The versatility of the material allows it to be "used in a wide range of industries."

Photo Credit: NewspaperWood

An innovative new material made from old newspapers is providing a viable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wood.

NewspaperWood is becoming increasingly popular because of its sustainability. As explained in Eclectic Trends, the material was developed in 2003 by Mieke Meijer, a graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and "has a unique aesthetic that mimics wood grain." 

Since Meijer's discovery, a custom-made machine was developed to produce a sustainable product from leftover material from the paper industry. NewspaperWood can then be recycled again, thereby contributing to the circular economy.

Whereas wood is traditionally transformed into paper, creating NewspaperWood reverses that process. According to ZDNet.com, NewspaperWood is created "by coating individual sheets of old newspaper with glue and then tightly rolling the glued sheets into logs." The end result is a durable, long-lasting material that can be cut, shaped, and sanded exactly like traditional wood.

The creation process is an example of upcycling, or turning old or unwanted materials into something new and more useful. NewspaperWood is an eco-friendly product because it repurposes the heaps of newspapers that might otherwise end up in landfills and gives them a new life as a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing material.

NewspaperWood is one of the many alternatives to traditional building materials. For example, Ferrock has been found to be a tougher and more planet-friendly material than concrete. And on a smaller scale of reusing materials, a woodworker developer created wood furniture using flooring scraps on Craigslist.

Eclectic Trends noted that the versatility of NewspaperWood allows it to be "used in a wide range of industries, from furniture and interior design to packaging and branding."

In a 2022 interview with Surfaces International, Arjan Van Raadshooven and Anieke Branderhorst of the Vij5 design brand explained that they partnered with Meijer in 2007 and have been working on bringing NewspaperWood to the mainstream.

"All projects we have done so far, have been quite experimental. For example, we worked on some conceptcars in the automotive sector, we used it in furniture and interior design, we made jewelry with it and it was even used in a watch," they said at the time

"We are very grateful for the trust and opportunities those partnering companies gave us, making us able to [prove] and show that the material has potential," they continued. "Now we are looking for companies that actually would like to go a step further and implement the production process of NewspaperWood into their own production lines."

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