While paper is an inexpensive and readily available resource, it also causes a drain on planetary resources. When you factor in the trees cut down, the water waste, the oil used to power machinery, and the impacts on the ecosystems the trees are taken from, the process of making paper has widespread effects.
TerraSlate, a producer of waterproof and rip-proof paper and menus, has developed a reusable synthetic paper with antimicrobial and anti-viral nanocoating to help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses on high-touch paper surfaces like restaurant menus and hospital signage.
“Because TerraSlate is waterproof and rip-proof it can be wiped clean and sanitized which is what hospitals do, or it can be washed with soap and water which is what restaurants do to clean and sanitize their menus,” says Kyle Ewing, president and founder of the Denver, Colo.-based company. “…We provide self-sanitizing menus that can also be washed with soap and water which reduces the spread of germs in restaurant environments. This is helpful in getting restaurants back to full capacity and helps restaurant patrons feel better about touching a menu that another customer touched previously.”
The company wants to reduce paper use by providing a durable alternative. The company’s goal is to replace paper products with reusable alternatives as much as possible.
Founded in 2015, TerraSlate was launched to make backup copies of passports for international travelers that could get wet and that would not rip. After determining that the market for such a product was too small, the company pivoted after realizing that the material was useful in all types of industries including hospitality, government, military, recreation, healthcare and oil and gas.
Compatible with ballpoint pens, copy machines, laser printer and digital presses, TerraSlate is a synthetic paper that never needs laminating.
“TerraSlate was developed to be durable, tear-proof and waterproof in order to withstand rain, heat up to 350 degrees, temperature variations, all while repelling grease, solvents and chemicals,” says Ewing.
Beyond reducing the number of prints needed in high-touch environments like restaurants, TerraSlate is compatible with Pilot Frixion pens, which makes it useful for things like re-useable notebooks and things like handwriting practice sheets in schools as each page can be written on and then completely erased with a damp cloth or paper towel.
“TerraSlate is the most durable paper on the planet because it is 100% waterproof and 100% rip-proof. It can also be easily printed with a laser printer or copy machine, and written on with a ballpoint pen,” says Ewing.
The paper is made out of military-grade polyester. The proprietary method uses a combination of high-grade silver and positively charged silver ions, which imbues printed menus with the innate ability to resist a wide assortment of bacteria, mildew, fungi, mold, and viruses.
“We are making printed materials that can be used again and again without needing to be reprinted which reduces the number of pages/sheets used in a business,” says Ewing. “Tree-based paper requires the demolition of trees and significant amounts of bleaching agents, cleaning agents, and water to make for a single-use piece of paper.”