With deforestation picking up speed around the globe because of the expected jump in paper demand over the next 15 years, the need to pursue other avenues of paper production has become the focus of a Japanese entrepreneur. What Nobuyoshi Yamasaki came up with hearkens back to the Stone Age since the production method uses limestone.
Yamasaki’s five-year old company is named TPM and was the byproduct of him coming across paper from Taiwan that had been crafted from stone. That development took approximately eight years before the first available pieces of limestone-based paper came off the assembly line in June of last year.
The current staff of the company consists of roughly 80 people in the city of Miyagi. The town was specifically chosen by Yamasaki because of the fact that it was battered in the 2011 earthquake that created a tsunami that killed nearly 16,000 people and threatened nuclear disaster. Within the next few years, another plant within Japan would deliver up to 30,000 tons of paper every year.
However, much more ambitious plans are in the works with Yamasaki envisioning over 100 different worldwide plants, with placement focused on making sure that the surrounding area has plenty of limestone deposits.
That would mean that American states like California and Middles Eastern countries like Morocco could be the major beneficiaries of this approach, with Yamasaki putting a $9 billion-the equivalent of one trillion yen-on his potential annual revenue estimate. Right now, the bulk of the company’s business is through durable business cards that repel water, though restaurant menus are next on the company’ agenda.
The problem is that right now, traditional paper companies can produce their material much less expensively, an issue that’s very similar to energy producers that sought to replace fuel-based products with solar energy.