So what's so good about wheat straw?
Hundreds of different fibrous plants can be manufactured into alternatives to tree-based paper products, most notably wheat, rice, hemp, flax, and sugar cane. In many agricultural processes, straw is treated merely as the agricultural waste that remains after grain or juice is extracted from crops. Straw is a valuable resource that can be fashioned into disposable products like plates, take out containers, bowls etc.
Humans have used various grasses and reeds to make paper for thousands of years. The very word “paper” derives from “papyrus,” a reed that was used by ancient Egyptians in making paper. The ancient Chinese also developed methods for making paper from plant fibres, taking advantage of the vast quantities of straw that are generated in a rice-based agricultural economy. Only in the last century have trees been the primary source of fibre used in making paper worldwide. Even so, tree-based paper has rapidly expanded to dominate the worldwide market. Only 5-10% of paper worldwide currently derives from agricultural crops, the rest derives from trees. However, tree-based paper is less dominant in developing countries, where the U.N. estimates that over one-third of paper production is based on agricultural crops.
Paper production that is based on agricultural crop waste offers numerous important environmental and economic advantages over tree-based paper production.