Botanical PaperWorks is thrilled and so very proud to be honored with the Innovation In Print Award at the Manitoba Print Industry Association's 5th Annual Name in Print Awards on October 18, 2017, in Winnipeg. The Name in Print Awards recognizes print companies who demonstrate excellence in training, investment in youth and industry development.
As a cleantech company that has overcome many print challenges to achieve high-quality print results with our eco-friendly plantable seed paper, this recognition from our peers at the MPIA means so much. It’s a celebration of the innovation of our team and a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far we have come.
"Looking back at where we started, I feel so excited and proud of what we have accomplished and I can't wait to see what the future holds for the company" - CEO & Co-Founder, Heidi Reimer-Epp
The Botanical PaperWorks print team was thrilled to attend along with CEO, Heidi Reimer-Epp and Director of Operations, Bryce Saunders. Not only did they get to enjoy the company of industry leaders, but they also got to learn about other challenges and innovations in the print industry.
Here's a video of Heidi Reimer-Epp's acceptance speech of the award at the event:
Want to know more about how Botanical PaperWorks started and the challenges they faced along the way?
Here's an excerpt from the event:
Botanical PaperWorks was founded in 1997 as a specialty paper manufacturing company by Heidi and her mother, Mary Reimer. At the time, the company experimented with natural fibers and Manitoba botanicals to make specialty papers and paper products for the Canadian card and invitation market.
Through their innovative papermaking work, Heidi and Mary developed internationally recognized expertise, and went on to write three books, including Quarto Publishing’s “Encyclopedia of Papermaking and Bookbinding”. The research and development of these books lead to the discovery of seed paper, an eco-friendly paper embedded with seeds and made from post-consumer and post-industrial paper waste. Botanical PaperWorks invested heavily in the research and development of seed paper and eventually rebranded the company as a cleantech seed paper company.
Today Botanical PaperWorks is the world-leader in plantable seed paper that composts in soil, sprouts and grows into wildflowers, herbs or vegetables. Seed paper is a way for companies and consumers to make environmentally friendly choices and walk-the-talk of their sustainability policies and environmental commitments. By choosing an eco-friendly seed paper item from Botanical PaperWorks, organizations and individuals are making a powerful environmental impact – growing habitats for endangered pollinators, growing plants to increase rainwater absorption and reduce overland flooding, and re-populating scarce indigenous plants.
In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and customers from 40 countries around the world, Botanical PaperWorks has produced enough paper to plant a wildflower garden that would circle the globe – twice!
Continuous innovation is the cornerstone of Botanical PaperWorks’ success, starting first with the challenge of producing a high-quality product in mass quantities. The company designed and evolved a production technique to address the challenges of uneven paper texture, varying thicknesses, and friction between sheets, all issues that come with a seed-embedded sheet of paper. The company then developed a process to preserve seed germination integrity, and the result was a smooth, even, print-ready sheet. They also partnered with local schools and businesses to establish a reliable supply of post-consumer and post-industrial paper waste.
Printing on seed paper proved to be a challenge. With a bumpy surface and seeds sensitive to heat and pressure, not just any printing technique would do. Botanical PaperWorks invested years of research and development adapting and evolving existing print technologies to fit this application. The result is a high-quality print solution that fits many applications, from trade products like paper packaging and promotional products to consumer goods such as memorial favors and wedding invitations.
As customer needs have changed, so has Botanical PaperWorks’ product offerings. The company currently offers 28 standard paper colors and 20 varieties of flower, herb and vegetable seeds plus on-demand custom formats, colors, and seeds. The company also designs finished goods for a variety of business and consumer industries and currently has a catalog of 1,500 products available for order. Printing is a significant area of on-going innovation as the company pursues ever-evolving print quality and increased printing through-put speeds to meet customer demand.
In 2015, Botanical PaperWorks launched a new line of paper called the Native Species Collection in response to customer interest in re-establishing indigenous plants. In partnership with a plant biologist from Edmonton, Botanical PaperWorks created papers for 11 regions in North America. Now customers of the promotional product line can choose a seed specific to their region to grow native pollinator plants. These specially-selected, conservationist-approved flowers help support declining bee populations and create habitats for birds, butterflies and other insects in the community that are necessary for the food ecosystem.
At the forefront of these innovations is Botanical PaperWorks’ mission “To leave the Earth a better place than we found it” as inspired by the words of Sidney Sheldon. As awareness grows of the environmental consequences of human activity, the solutions presented by eco-friendly innovators like Botanical PaperWorks will lead the way.