Manufacturing in California poses certain challenges environmentally that we at PAPER MILLS care about and have made it an important part of our mission statement to DO NO HARM.
First off we have sourced post consumer poly cellulose (recycled paper) non-woven ground to do our wallpaper manufacturing on that is durable and stands up to the rigor of wallpaper installation and has a lifespan of decades on the wall looking as good as the day it was installed. We also have sourced water based paints that have no VOCs and are engineered to be light fast and wipe-able.
Secondly, we have a shortage of water and our studio is nestled into the fragile eco-system of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Being close to nature feeds our creative process and we need to be good stewards of our environment so that our own creative process and our neighbors is protected for years to come. Our manufacturing process requires water for wash out of our brushes and to dilute certain paints to make our glazing process possible. We generate a lot of wastewater that can not be put through the septic or city water system. We have devised a method of separating the paint particles from the water so that we can re-use this grey water in further washing of our painting dishes as well - we feed ferns and spider plants with the excess water which create good oxygen for our space in return for the abundance of “clean” water for them to drink. We have gotten our water usage down to less than 5 gallons of water a week. The waste, from the process that is left in evaporating trays and our filter system is safe to go into the landfill with our normal household trash pick up.