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WHAT IS LOKTA PAPER?

Lokta paper is made from the Lokta bush or Daphne bush that grows Himalayan mountain region at 6,500 to 10,000 feet. There are many different species of Daphne but only five of them are really suitable for making paper. The paper is handmade in the mountains of Nepal from the inner bark of this bush. Popular as the most exquisite and versatile papers on the planet, Lokta handmade paper has four deckled edges and is a very strong fiber.

That all sounds great, but what makes Lokta paper so eco-friendly?

• Lokta paper is handmade and sun dried, so there are no machines putting C02 or other emission into our air.

• It is made from a bush that grows quickly and needs to be pruned to the ground every 3- 4 years to grow stronger. Without this pruning it will wither and die. The root base grown during this period of regeneration keeps the soil more stable and helps protect rural Nepalese villages from mudslides during the monsoon season.

• The bush grows in the shade, so bushes grown for commercial purposes don’t require that the forests are cut down to farm them. It can be grown in tiers so that the plants will be ready to prune in different years.

• It is grown without chemicals and requires no bleaches or other chemical processing.

• While only the skin of the Lokta bush is needed to produce the paper. The artisans dry the remaining stalk of the bush in the sun so that they can use it for fuel to cook with. Since the skin needs to be removed prior to the stalks being used for fuel, if it doesn’t get turned into paper, if will go to waste. Therefore the entire plant is used and there is no waste.

The paper is colored with either azo free dyes or organic dyes such as indigo, tree barks, flower etc.

The strength of the paper makes it easy to reuse and the beauty of it makes you want to. Using Lokta paper is not only good for the environment, but it helps the rural people of the Nepalese of the Himalayan mountain region. Not only does the root growth help protect their villages, but paper making is their only source of income. The manufacturer I’m using is a small woman owned company that provides a healthy work environment and uses sustainable practices for her company.

Lokta is harvested much like sugar cane before the skin is removed to make the paper. The remaining sticks are given to the workers because it is the best cooking fuel. The skins are soaked, boiled and mashed by hand before it is poured into the fabric screened wood frames for sun drying.

The paper is then turned into wonderfully beautiful items such as journals, guest books, wrapping paper, cards & even ribbon!

The planet has given us more than one resource for paper. If we use them all instead of over using just one, we can help preserve some of our resources for future generations.

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