UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into wheat paper at UBC Ansari-Gilani, Jobin; Harris, Donald; Jalali, Siavash; Xue, Youtai


Wheat straw is an agricultural waste product which is currently unused in any heavy industrial processes. UBC has been approached by a company which sells paper produced from this material. This paper attempts to collect general information regarding the economic and sustainability differences between the two products. The goal is to present a suggested course of action in order to aid UBC in their decision about whether or not to adopt the product. From a sustainability perspective it appears that wheat is an excellent choice provided that transportation costs and emissions from shipping this product from India to not exceed the gains of switching to the new material. The vast majority of wheat straw is currently burned, and 90% of all paper products are made from wood. Being able to mitigate this waste will have direct implications for the sustainability of our forests. Recycling procedures for wheat paper are generally similar, though there is currently limited data regarding whether or not this new material would have any impact on UBC’s own recycling facilities. It is suggested that UBC adopt a limited trial run of this product in order to conduct more research into the implications of making a full switch. It is further recommended that UBC remain in dialogue with the supplier about their own sustainability initiatives in order to assure that that these decisions are in fact a step in the right direction. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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