Monday, May 21, 2012

Paper - from a most unusual and environmentally friendly source

Paper can be made from a variety of materials, but perhaps one of the most unusual and environmentally friendly is paper made from stones.
Stone paper is known by many names including rock paper, limestone paper, eco-stone, and synthetic paper.

How it's made

Stone paper is made with a mixture of about 80% calcium carbonate which is also used in the manufacture of conventional tree-based paper. The calcium carbonate usually comes from limestone, marble and other stones collected as waste material from existing quarries for the building and construction industry. The stones are ground down to a fine chalk-like powder then a small quantity (about 20%) of non-toxic resin (HDPE- High Density Polyethylene) is added as a binder for the calcium carbonate. Together these materials create a soft, smooth, bright white paper that is tough, durable and both water and tear resistant. The paper is chlorine free, acid free, and safe for the environment.

The ECO benefit

• One ton of virgin paper uses 20 trees, 36,000 BTU’s of energy, creates 16,000 gallons of contaminated waste water, uses bleach, and contains 20-30% calcium carbonate (stone).
• One ton of recycled paper uses 4 trees, 22,000 BTU’s of energy, creates 9,000 gallons of contaminated waste water, uses bleach, and contains 20-30% calcium carbonate (stone).
• One ton of stone paper uses 0 trees, creates absolutely no waste water, and uses half the energy of virgin paper and 1/3 the energy of recycled paper. Stone paper does not require bleaching chemicals and generates no air pollution.

Stone-based paper is recyclable with both paper and plastic. Since it is stone it is not biodegradable. On exposure to UV light, e.g. from the sun, and moisture, the High Density Polyethylene breaks down after about a year returning the calcium carbonate to a power form. Egg shells are 95% calcium carbonate and decompose in a similar way. The HDPE is also recyclable and has the number "2" as its recycling symbol. Much of household waste is sent to WTE (Waste to Energy) plants where it is incinerated, scrubbed of carbon, and ‘recycled’ into energy.  Even conventional paper waste ends up in WTE plants.  If stone paper ends up at a WTE plant it actually is a great contributor since it burns more cleanly than many other materials and does not produce toxins.

The calcium carbonate itself is the most abundant natural mineral on earth making up 70% of all minerals on the planet.  Mining and quarrying operations already existing in the world scrape away tons of calcium carbonate each year in an effort to get at the ‘more precious’ minerals.  This excess material makes calcium carbonate a great ‘filler’ for papers, plastics, some food products and many household products.

Stone-based papers are:

•  Water Proof

•  Grease Proof

•  Tear Resistant

•  Weather Resistant

•  An alternative to synthetic papers such as Yupo, Tyvek and polypropylene films

•  A great grease barrier

•  A great outdoors product (with the addition of UV blockers)

Some stone-based paper brands include: FiberStone® Natural Stone Paper, Terraskin, and Rockstock.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marketing 101 - "Weasel" words

Whether you're a marketing services provider or a consumer you need to be aware of the use of "weasel" words in advertising and marketing verbiage.

Weasel words, or phrases, are used in marketing/advertising in order to avoid making a direct statement or promise. I.e. they are used as a way to say something that legally, or truthfully, cannot be said. They're also used to make you think you've heard something that hasn't actually been said, to accept as truth something which has only been implied, and believe things that have only been suggested.

A short guide to marketing and advertising "weasel" words.

Sale - Often used in newspaper advertising flyers and at point of purchase in the store. "Sale" or "sale price" is intended to make you think that the product's price has been discounted. But in reality, unless the original price is also displayed, "sale" simply means that this is the normal price that the product sells for.

Help - Often used with health and beauty products e.g. "Helps prevent cavities" "Helps make wrinkles disappear." The word "help" simply means "assist" and nothing more. No advertiser can say: "Our product makes wrinkles disappear" so instead they qualify it with "help" and can say: "Our product helps make wrinkles disappear." Our minds skip over the qualifier "help" and just hears "makes wrinkles disappear."

"Helps prevent..."
"Helps fight...."
"Helps you look..."

Like - "Like" is a qualifier that has a comparative element to it. It is used to stop the consumer from looking at the actual product being sold and instead start thinking about something that is bigger, better, or different.

"It's like getting another one free."
"It's like a vacation in Hawaii."
"Cleans like a white tornado."

"Like" is intended to make you believe that the product or service is more than it actually is by likening it to something else.

Virtual/virtually - This word just means "in essence" or "in effect," but not in actual fact.

"Virtually never needs service"
"Virtually the same as"
"Virtually handmade"

"Virtually" is interpreted by most people as meaning "almost or the same as...." But it really means "not in actual fact" so, for example, "Virtually never needs service" really means that it actually needs service.

Can be/may be - E.g. "Brand X can be of help in reducing cavities" or Brand Y may be effective in your weight loss program." Can be/may be is basically saying that the advertiser doesn't know if their product does anything.

Up to - This is used to imply an ideal situation but actually qualifies it. E.g. "Up to 50% off our regular prices." Well that could mean that discounts range anywhere from 0% to 50% - but they've got you in the store looking for all those 50% discounts.

As much as - E.g. "You'll reduce your ink consumption by as much as 28%." See "Up to."

Feel - This word expresses a subjective opinion. E.g. "This fabric feels like the finest silk." "Feels" like in this example is the advertiser's opinion of their product. Counter "feels" by completing the thought - "This fabric feels like the finest silk - but it isn't."

Free - Rarely is anything actually free. Free usually just means that it is included in the total price rather than listed as a separate item.