CA Pulp Mill to Manufacture Tree-Free Samoa Cane

CA Pulp Mill to Manufacture Tree-Free Samoa Cane

Samoa Pacific Cellulose, LLC., a California-based pulp mill, has produced the first commercial trial run of bleached pulp from the Arundo Donax plant, a reed that grows wild in southern California.

The company plans to market the new pulp as a “tree-free” fiber for papermaking applications such as printing and tissue papers. The pulp, which will be marketed under the name Samoa Cane, was developed through a partnership with Nile Fiber Pulp and Paper Company, Inc.

"This is the ultimate step in environmental stewardship and future-oriented manufacture of pulp for the range of papermaking applications,” says Dr. Ernest Harvey, president of Samoa Pacific.

The Arundo Donax plant is similar in appearance to bamboo. A perennial that can be harvested annually, it is a member of the grass family and grows at a rate of about 30 ft per year. The plant is highly adaptable, thriving in poor soils with relatively little water.

Samoa Pacific estimates that the plant produces twenty fives times the useable fiber as an acre of timber, and claims that it can be processed into pulp with significantly less chemical use.

According to Frank Fitzpatrick, president of Samoa Sales, the new product has already attracted the interest of a number of foreign and domestic pulp customers because of its environmental preferences in certain markets, including Japan. “There is certainly high interest in paper of this character here in North America with leading environmentally friendly large paper users,” said Fitzpatrick. “Ultimately it has tremendous potential to produce paper fiber in world regions with scare wood fiber resources.”