Title:
Paper Product Containing Mineral Material Which Stimulates Micro-Organism Activity In Naturally Occurring Environmental Conditions
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paper product (20) is provided of at least one sheet of soft degradable paper material at least partially coated or impregnated with a mineral material such as rock dust (11) in a fine particulate form. The mineral material having characteristics which enhance micro-organism activity at the paper product (20) at least under some naturally occurring environmental conditions. Seeds (12) may also be added to the paper product (20).



Inventors:
Kogias, Joy (New South Wales, AU)
Application Number:
11/813196
Publication Date:
07/10/2008
Filing Date:
03/24/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
162/181.1
International Classes:
D21H13/02; D21H17/63
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CORDRAY, DENNIS R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PERKINS COIE LLP - PAO General (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A paper product comprising at least one sheet of soft degradable paper material at least partially coated or impregnated with a mineral material in a fine particulate form, the mineral material having characteristics which enhance micro-organism activity at the paper product at least under some naturally occurring environmental conditions.

2. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is impregnated within the paper material, adhered to the paper material or located between two adjacent piles of the paper material.

3. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is in the form of a rock dust.

4. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is formed from at least one igneous rock type.

5. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is formed from at least one of the group comprising basalt, granite and rhyolite.

6. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is formed from at least one metamorphic rock.

7. A paper product according to claim 6, wherein the mineral material is in the form of rock dust and the rock dust is formed from at least one gneiss type rock.

8. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is formed from glacial deposit.

9. A paper product according to claim 8, wherein the mineral material is formed from a glacial moraine.

10. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material is formed from at least one sedimentary rock.

11. A paper product according to any one of claims 1, wherein the mineral material is formed from at least one rock from at least two different rock types selected from the group comprising igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock.

12. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material has an average particle size less than about 200 μm.

13. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material has an average particle size less than about 75 μm.

14. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the mineral material has an average particle size less than about 50 μm.

15. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the rock dust has an average particle size of less than about 20 μm.

16. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the at least one sheet of paper is formed from a recycled paper material.

17. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the at least one sheet of paper is formed from a virgin pulp material.

18. A paper product according to claim 1, wherein the at least one sheet of paper is formed from a non-bleached material.

19. A paper product according to claim 1, further comprising one or more seeds.

20. A paper product according to claim 1, further comprising a plurality of seeds of one or more different plant varieties.

21. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein said seeds are applied to an outer face of said at least one sheet of paper material such that the seeds are held in place without an adhesive.

22. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein said seeds have an average particle size less than about 200 μm.

23. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein said seeds have an average particle size less than about 100 μm.

24. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein said seeds have an average particle size less than about 50 μm.

25. A paper product according to claims 19, wherein said seeds are applied at a rate of up to 10,000 seeds per kilometre of paper.

26. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein 8,000 to 10,000 of said seeds are applied to each kilometre of paper.

27. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein the seeds selected are dependent upon a predetermined geographical area of usage of the paper product.

28. A paper product according to claim 19, wherein the seeds are selected from at least one of the group of seeds of trees selected from Eucalyptus, Callistemon, Melaleuca, Casuarina, Leptospermum, Bracteantha and Kunzea species.

29. A method of forming a paper product comprising forming a paper and applying a finely ground mineral material to the paper prior to final drying of the paper, the mineral material having characteristics which enhance micro-organism activity at least under some naturally occurring environmental conditions.

30. A method of forming a paper product according to claim 29, further comprising applying one or more seeds to the paper prior to final drying of the paper.

31. A method of forming a paper product according to claim 30, wherein the seeds are applied to an external face of the paper.

32. A method of forming a paper product according claim 30, wherein the rock dust and the seeds are applied to the paper simultaneously.

33. 33-36. (canceled)

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a paper product, and a method for producing a paper product. In particular, but not exclusively, the present invention relates a paper product that is suitable for use as toilet paper in remote and environmentally sensitive areas and a method of producing the toilet paper.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bushwalking, camping, hiking, boating and other outdoor leisure activities, sports and pursuits are popular past times throughout the world. Such activities and pursuits are often conducted in remote areas or areas which do not have washroom, restroom and bathroom facilities, or an ablution block. Other activities whereby a person is placed in an isolated location in the absence of such facilities include military exercises, espionage and covert field activities by field operatives, exercises by special agents, activities by boy scouts and girl guides, and the like.

Partakers of such activities are thus faced with the problem of disposal of toilet tissue and personal waste when confronted with the need to evacuate in the absence of appropriate facilities. Typical methods of disposal of waste products of the prior art include at least partial burial of toilet tissue, full burial of toilet tissue and non-burial of toilet tissue. Environmental awareness programs and basic common sense have purportedly resulted in full burial of toilet tissue and faecal matter, thus resulting in a more hygienic environment and reduction of the incidence of spread of disease and environmental contamination

The present inventor has identified the short comings of the prior art and has sought to ameliorate at least some of the above difficulties.

Any reference in this specification to the prior art does not constitute, nor should it be considered, an admission that such prior art was widely known or forms part of the common general knowledge in Australia, or in any other jurisdiction, before the priority date of any of the appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect, the present invention provides a paper product comprising at least one sheet of soft degradable paper material at least partially coated or impregnated with a mineral material in a fine particulate form, the mineral material having characteristics which enhance micro-organism activity at the paper product at least under some naturally occurring environmental conditions.

The mineral material may be impregnated within the paper material, adhered to the paper material or located between two adjacent plies of the paper material.

The mineral material is preferably in the form of a rock dust. The rock dust may be formed from at least one igneous rock type, for example those from the group comprising basalt, granite and rhyolite. Alternatively, the rock dust may be formed from at least one metamorphic rock, for example from at least one gneiss type rock, or the mineral material may be formed from at least one sedimentary rock.

Preferably, the rock dust used is a glacial moraine. Alternatively, the rock dust may be formed from at least one from at least two different rock types selected from the group comprising igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock.

Preferably, the rock dust has an average particle size less than 200 μm, more preferably less than about 100 μm, still more preferably less than about 50 μm and most preferably less than about 20 μm.

Preferably, the sheet of paper is formed from a recycled paper material. More preferably, the paper is formed from a non-bleached material. Alternatively, the sheet of paper may be formed from virgin pulp material.

The paper tissue may be a single ply paper or alternatively a multi-ply paper.

The rock powder may be positioned between at least two sheets of said multi-ply paper. Alternatively, the rock powder may be impregnated within at least one of said at least one sheets of paper.

The paper tissue preferably further comprising one or more seeds. The seeds may be of one or more different plant varieties. Preferably the seed are applied to an outer face of said at least one sheet of paper material such that the seeds are held in place without an adhesive.

The seeds preferably have an average particle size less that about 200 μm, more preferably less than about 100 μm and still more preferably less than about 50 μm.

Preferably, the seeds are applied at a rate of up to 10,000 seeds per kilometre of paper, more preferably at a rate of 8,000 to 10,000 seeds per kilometre of paper.

Preferably the seeds are selected upon a predetermined geographical area of usage of the paper tissue.

The seeds may be selected from at least one of the group of seeds of trees selected from Eucalyptus, Callistemon, Melaleuca, Casuarina, Leptospermum, Bracteantha and Kunzea species.

The paper tissue may be provided in the form of a roll having a plurality of sheets. Alternatively, the paper tissue may be provided as a plurality of sheets in the form of a stack in a packet or in a box. Preferably, the sheets may be arranged such that a “pop-up” action occurs upon removal of one sheet from the box or stack so that at least a portion of the next sheet protrudes, for easy access for subsequent removal.

In a second aspect, the present invention provides a method of forming a paper product comprising forming a paper and applying a finely ground mineral material to the paper prior to final drying of the paper, the mineral material having characteristics which enhance micro-organism activity at least under some naturally occurring environmental conditions.

Preferably, the method further comprises the step of applying one or more seeds to the paper prior to final drying of the paper. Preferably the seeds are applied to an external face of the paper.

The rock dust may be applied to the paper by spraying, vacuum or vibration, and the seeds may be applied to the paper by spraying, vacuum or vibration. The rock dust and the seeds may be applied to the paper simultaneously.

The paper is preferably made in the form of a continuous web. A conventional paper manufacturing machine may be used. Typically, paper is formed by dewatering a pulp in the paper manufacturing machine to thereby form a continuous web of paper. The web of paper typically passes through various drying rollers and finishing rollers and is finally wound onto a large roll. Alternatively, the continuous web may be processed into a final form without being would onto a large roll. The rock dust may be introduced at this stage, at an earlier stage or alternatively at a later stage in the process. In the case that seeds are to be included within the paper product, the seeds are preferably applied to the paper prior to final drying of the paper has occurred. The seeds are preferably pressed and air dried to form the final product. Particularly suitable drying conditions for drying of the paper after the seeds are applied thereto utilise a rapid air drying using low humidity and temperatures not exceeding about 40° C.

According to another aspect, the invention resides in a paper product when produced according to a method that includes forming a paper and applying a finely ground mineral material to the paper prior to final drying of the paper, the mineral material having characteristics which enhance micro-organism activity at least under some naturally occurring environmental conditions.

The preferred feature of the incorporation of plant seeds within the paper product is described in Australian patent no. 739752 (application no. 200048870) to the present inventor, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

Throughout the specification the term “comprise” and variations on this term including “comprising” and “comprises” are to be understood to imply the inclusion of a feature, integer, step or element, and not exclude other features, integers, steps or elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 shows a flow diagram of an example process that may be used to manufacture the paper product of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

The paper product according to the present invention is preferably provided in a roll form, in a stacked form in a box or alternatively in a package form. The paper product includes a fine rock dust which includes minerals and/or elements suitable for the stimulation of micro-organisms, preferably including protoplasm and phytoplankton.

The paper product, when disposed of after use either by burying the product or by discarding the product on the ground, leaves a deposit of minerals suitable for promotion of micro-organism activity, thus resulting in a product which is actively biodegraded by the environment in which it is disposed of, whilst re-mineralising the adjacent soil area.

Alternatively, when the paper product according to the invention is disposed of in an aqueous environment, the minerals contained within the product enhance the growth and activity of phytoplankton, again resulting in a product which is actively biodegraded by the environment in which it is disposed of.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention in which the paper product further comprises one or more seeds, a suitable environment for the germination of the seeds may be created when the product is disposed of on land below or on top of the soil surface. The seeds are thereby placed in a environment so that, when suitable climatic conditions are encountered, the seeds germinate, resulting in the growth of a plant. The seeds included in the paper product may include the seeds of a grass, a shrub or a tree. The presence of the rock dust promotes microbial activity and assists in the nourishment of the new plant in at least its early stages of growth, and thus the paper product may assist to environmentally restore a site.

The paper product according to the present invention is preferably in the form of tissue/toilet paper. The paper product may be used by bushwalkers, campers, hikers, boaters, spies, field operatives, special agents, boy scouts, girl guides, army personnel, forestry workers, council workers, truck drivers, loggers, rescue services, land care groups and the like.

Rock Dust Characteristics

Rock dust, as used in the present invention, alternatively known as rock flour, rock powder, rock food, and mineral fines, are generic terms which are given to a wide range of primary mineral materials graded below 200 mesh (ASTM US standard, 75 μm). Most preferably, the rock dust is less than 20 μm, although it is anticipated that a particle size of up to 200 μm may be used. Rock dust contains up to 100 different minerals and trace elements, and may be the product of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, as well as small amounts of organic matter also of fine particle size.

Rock dust may be formed from natural processes such as weathering of rocks into fine particles. Other natural processes include glaciation, whereby rocks, sands, clays, plant and organic material, gravel and boulders, termed glacial erratics, are pushed by a glacier as the glacier moves down a valley, and the erratics are ground into a fine dust by the force of a glacier slowly moving down a mountain.

Typical primary (igneous) rocks from which rock dust may be formed include Basalt, Granite and Gneiss. Other natural and mixed material rock dust include Volcanic ash and glacial deposits such as Glacial Moraine, all of which have include more than 50 elements, minerals and chemical associations in varying concentrations and forms.

Remineralisation of Soil Using Rock Dust

The use of the present invention may be directed to mineral depleted soils depleted by both natural causes such as erosion, and from man-made causes such as agriculture and mining, which have been cited as causes of further soil erosion and mineral depletion, and for causing failure of crops. The introduction of rock dust to mineral depleted soils has been reported to enhance microbial activity within the soil, resulting in improved plant growth and health both with and without compost. Reports have also shown increased yield for fields supplemented with rock dust as opposed to those without.

The mineral composition of rock dust is believed to re-mineralise mineral depleted soils and stimulate and feed microbes, and as such has been shown to be effective in composting processes and remineralisation of agricultural fields. Thus, the disposal of the paper product according to the present invention provides for remineralisation and increased microbial activity enhancing plant growth, thus providing a more sustainable substrate. Upon delivery of mineral material from the rock dust to a soil, an environment is provided for the multiplication of micro-organisms.

Use of Rock Dust in an Aqueous Environment

Rockdust, when present in a water environment, has been considered to nourish phytoplankton, minute, free-floating aquatic plants photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae, a basic biological substance cited as being imperative for growth and correct biological balance within aqueous environments. Phytoplankton, at least in part, contributes to the appearance of water being of a green colour in the ocean and in waterways. Drifting phytoplankton is reported as accounting for more than half of the photosynthesis on earth, and provide oxygen and regulate carbon dioxide which contributes to the earth's climate. Phytoplankton blooms only three times a year, two blooms in temperate waters (Spring and Autumn), and one brief period in Spring in polar waters. Thus, the paper product according to the present invention, when disposed of in a water way or at sea, encourages the activity of phytoplankton, thus feeding the environment whilst being degraded. Phytoplankton convert inorganic compounds into complex organic compounds. This process of primary productivity supports the pelagic food chain.

Suitable Rock Dust for the Present Invention

Rock dust used in accordance with the present invention, comprises minerals and elements of type and size for promotion of microbial activity when disposed of. Preferably, the rock dust has an average particle size of less than about 20 μm.

The mineralogy of rocks is complex, and many minerals and trace elements are present within various rocks, and thus rock dust, and there are more that fifty and up one hundred elements and minerals in typical rock dust. By comparison, normal agricultural practice is related mainly to sodium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and calcium, while intensive horticultural fertilisers may include up to 16 macro and micro elements.

Suitable such rock dusts for use in the present invention preferably include those with elements including potassium, calcium and phosphorous. Preferred primary rocks as precursors to rock dust include basalt and granite, a preferred metamorphic rock is gneiss, and suitable mixed-material rock dusts include glacial deposits such as glacial moraine. Suitable rock dust may also be formed from degradation of sedimentary rocks, however such rock dust may be somewhat depleted of minerals from exposure to weathering.

Other materials from which suitable rock dust may be formed from include volcanic ash, tuff, perlite, limestone, and industrial by-products such as cement kiln dust, fly-ash, gypsum, manufactured lime products and demolition waste.

Depending upon the required function of the invention, particular combinations of rock dusts from varying origins may be combined to provide a suitable mineral and element loading with the dust.

Suitable igneous rocks for the formation of rock dust may include:

    • ultramafic magmas,
    • rhyloites,
    • olivine (Mg2SiO4 to Fe2SiO4)
    • pyroxene (Ca(Mg,Fe,Al)(Al,Si)2O6),
    • mafic (basaltic) magmas,
    • plagioclase (CaAlSi3O8 to NaAlSi3O8),
    • intermediate magmas,
    • amphibole (NaCa2(Mg,Fe,Al)5(Si,Al)8O2(OH)2,
    • muscovite/biotite (KAl2(Si3Al)O10(OH)2),
    • felsic (granitic) magmas, and
    • potash feldspar (KAlSi3O8).

Suitable metamorphic rocks for the formation of rock dust may include:

    • slate (clay minerals, micas),
    • phyllite (clay minerals, micas),
    • schist (muscovite, biotite, chlorite, talc, garnet, kyanite, staurolite, quartz, ferromagnesian minerals),
    • gneiss (feldspars, quartz, micas, ferromagnesian minerals),
    • marble—calcite (CaCO3), dolomitic marble (dolomite (Ca,Mg)(CO3)2),
    • amphibolite (amphiboles),
    • meta-conglomerates,
    • homfels (clay minerals, micas), and
    • anthracite coal (carbonaceous material).

Suitable sedimentary rocks for the formation of rock dust may include:

    • sand;
    • sandstone;
    • limestone;
    • dolomite;
    • clays;
    • silt;
    • shale;
    • lignite; and
    • conglomerates.

Suitable Plant Seeds for the Present Invention

Seeds used in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention include those preferably of the native flora of the geographical area in which the product is to be used. The following are typical plant seed varieties which may be used in Australia, as that environment is one most familiar to the present inventor. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention may be equally as applicable in any other geographic areas such as the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, England may Africa, and those skilled in the art would select appropriate seeds to germinate the required flora in a specific geographical environment.

    • (a) Eucalyptus—Eucalyptus is a very large genus of trees. There are Eucalyptus suitable for all soils and climatic conditions. Eucalyptus are grown easily from seed, if sown or dropped in a mixture of light sandy loan and leaf mould. Between 400 and 500 species of Eucalyptus occur in Australia. Most Eucalyptus have small seeds. Examples of particular Eucalyptus suitable for use in the present invention include:
      • E. micocorys (Tallow-Wood)—A tall, low-branching tree, with spreading crown for good rainfall areas. Grows to 50 feet.
      • E. perriniana (Round-Leaved Snow-Gum)—An attractive small tree with silvery foliage—for a very cold to cool climates. Grows to 20 feet.
      • E. preissiana (Bell Fruit Mallee)—Grows to 15 feet.
      • E. nicholii—A good tree for most soil, cold and temperate areas. Grows to 50 feet.
      • E. pyriformis (Ooldea Mallee)—Hardy under most conditions. Grows to 15 feet.
      • E. robusta (Swamp Mahogany)—Useful in badly drained soils. Grows to 50 feet.
      • E. rideroxylon (Pink Flowing Ironbark)—Slow growing but hardy. For temperate and dry inland areas. Grows to 50 feet.
      • E. melliodora (Yellow Box)—For moderate rainfall inland areas. Grows to 50 feet.
      • E. macrocarpa (Mallee Rose)—Prefers well drained soil in dry areas. Grows to 15 feet.
      • E. macrantha (Scribbly Gum)—An insect working near the bark produces the scribbly effect which gives this tree its common name. Some varieties grow to 80 feet, others 20 to 30 feet only. Prefers sandy soils but tolerates others.
      • E. citriodora (Lemon-Scented Gum)—For temperate and subtropical districts. Grows from 30 to 50 feet.
      • E. cinerea (Argyle Apple)—Prefers good rainfall, in cool to cold districts. Grows from 30 to 50 feet.
      • E. camaldulensis (River Red Gum)—Prefers heavy soil and does well in low rainfall areas. Grows from 35 to 50 feet.
      • E calycogona (Gooseberry Mallee)—Drought resistant for inland districts. Grows to 20 feet.
    • (b) Acacia—A large genus of attractive yellow flowering trees of which many hundreds are native to Australia. Flowers are either fluffy balls of blossom, or spikes. Foliage is feathery or simple. Species are fast growing but usually not long lived. Acacias are commonly known as Wattle. The following are examples of Acacias that may be used in the present invention:
      • A. aneura (Mulga)—Hardy under all inland conditions. It is a very useful fodder tree during drought period. Grows to 20 feet.
      • A. baileyana (Cootamundra Wattle)—A widely cultivated frost hardy species. Grows to 20 feet.
      • A. dealbata (Silver Wattle)—Grows to 30 feet.
      • A. elata (Cedar Wattle)—Fast growing, longer lived than most wattles—tree is suitable for temperate climates. Grows to 60 feet.
      • A. glaucescens (Coastal Myall)—Long lived tree. Like moist soil in coastal areas. Grows to 40 feet.
      • A. longifolia (Sydney Golden Wattle)—A fast growing small tree. Moisture loving but flourishes in poor sandy soils and coastal areas. Grows to 15 feet.
      • A. mearnsii (Black Wattle)—Fast growing and suitable for a wide variety of soils in coastal and mountain areas. Grows to 40 feet.
      • A. melanoxylon (Blackwood)—Tall growing and frost hardy. Requires good rainfall. Suitable for cold and temperate climates. Grows to 100 feet.
      • A. pendula (Weeping Myall)—Suitable for faily dry, warm inland areas. Grows to 30 feet.
      • A. podalyriifolia (Queensland Silver Wattle)—Fast growing, suitable for cultivation in all but the coldest climates. Grows from 8 feet to 20 feet. Native to New South Wales and Queensland.
      • A. pycnantha (Golden Wattle)—Fairly drought hardy. Suitable for temperate and inland areas. Grows to 25 feet.
      • A. salicina (Cooba or Willow Wattles)—Suitable for inland areas. Grows to 40 feet.
      • A. sectabilis (Mudgee Wattle)—This species is frost hardy. Grows to 10 feet.
    • (c) Allocasuarina (She Oaks)—Australian native parrots use the Casuarinas as a food source. The female tree bears nuts, which contains the seeds. Casuarinas have scale—like leaves. The following examples of Casuarina may be used in the present invention:
      • Allocasuarina cunninghamiana (River She Oak)—Usually found along fresh water streams. For most districts with rainfall exceeding 20 inches. Grows to 50 feet.
      • A. glauca—Grows to 40 fee. Very useful for growing in badly drained coastal areas, near brackish water.
      • A. equisetifolia Incana—Grows to 30 feet. Stands considerable exposure near the coastline.
    • (d) Grevillea—Attractive flowering trees for coastal and inland areas. Native to Australia. The following provides examples of Grevillea that may be used in the present invention:
      • Grevillea Banksii—For temperate regions. Grows to 15 feet.
      • G. Robusta (Silky Oak)—For hot, dry inland districts. Grows to 30 feet.
      • G. Striata (Beefwood)—For hot, dry inland districts. Grows to 30 feet.
      • G. Banksii Foresteri—Most districts except very cold. Grows to 8 feet.
      • G. Rosmarinifolia—Most districts. Grows to 6 feet.
      • G. Gaudichaudii—Loves cold districts. Grows to 1 foot.
      • G. Triternata—Loves cold districts. Grows 1-2 feet.
    • (e) Melaleuca (Paperbark)—An Australian native. The following gives examples of Melaleucas that may be used in the present invention:
      • Melaleuca armillaris (Paperbark)—very hardy in sandy soils near the coast. Grows to 25 feet.
      • Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-Leaved Paperbark)—The largest growing of the species, reaching up to 40 feet. For coastal soils and some inland areas.
      • M. stypheliodes (Prickly-Leaved Paperbark)—Will thrive in moist soils in temperate districts.
    • (f) Leptospermum (Tea Tree)—Grows in sandy soils in locations close to the sea. The following provide examples that may be used in the present invention:
      • Leptospermum flavescens—Grows to 15 feet.
      • L. grandiflorum—Grows to 15 feet.
      • L. laevigatum—Grows to 15 feet.
      • L. rotundifolium—Grows 3 to 6 feet.
      • L. lambethii—Fast growing. Grows to 8 feet.
      • L. pestersonii (Leon-Scented Tea Tree)—Temperate districts. Grows to 15 feet.
      • L. scoparium—Temperate districts. Grows to 6 feet.
      • Several Varieties L. S. nichollsii—Grows to 8 feet.
    • (g) Callistemon (Boftlebrushes)—Native to Australia. They are small ornamental trees with attractive foliage, showy boftlebrush-like spikes of flowers. There are species and varieties suited to most soil conditions. For temperate, inland and warmer mountain areas. The following list provides examples of Callistemon that may be used in the present invention:
      • Callistemon citrinus (Red Boftlebrush)—For temperate and good rainfall inland areas. Grows to 15 feet.
      • C. salignus—stands fairly dry conditions, Grows to 20 feet.
      • C. viminalis—Prefers a moist location. Grows to 20 feet.
    • (h) Bracteantha (Everlasting Daisies)
      • fast growing native daisy
      • grows in most soils
    • (i) Kunzea
      • Hardy woody shrub
      • Capable of growing in a wide range of environments in temperate Australia

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the seeds that are selected to be included in the paper product have an average particle size less that about 50 μm, although seeds having a particle size up to about 100 μm or 200 μm may be used.

The paper product of the present invention may be made in the form of a continuous web using a conventional paper manufacturing machine. FIG. 1 shows a flow diagram of a typical manufacturing process. In step 1, rock dust 11 is added to screened pulp 10. This may be achieved by adding the rock dust 11 in a controlled manner onto the screened pulp 10 as it is fed to a roller press on an endless belt.

The screen pulp 10 with. the rock dust 11 additive is then pressed by a roller press so as to form a consolidated continuous web (step 2). The web is then typically passed through various drying rollers and finishing rollers. The drying process may be a multi-stage process. In the example process shown in FIG. 1, the drying process has a first stage (step 3) and a second stage (step 5). Step 4 involves the optional addition of seeds 12 and optionally further rock dust 11, the seeds 12 and rock dust 11 being pressed into the continuous web under light pressure. Alternatively, step 1 may be omitted and rock dust 11 added only at stage 4. The second stage of drying (step 5) may involve using air drying in a low humidity environment and with temperatures not exceeding about 40° C. Other drying conditions may be used for the first stage of drying (step 3).

Finally, the continuous web is wound onto a large roll 20, which is used as a supply of paper for further processing. Alternatively, the continuous web may be processed into a final form without being would onto a large roll.

As described, the rock dust may be introduced at step 1 or at step 4, although the present invention is to limited addition of the rock dust at these stages of the paper manufacture process. If seeds are not added to the paper, then the drying process may be completed as a single stage with uniform drying conditions.

In an alternative embodiment, the paper product may be formed a first and a second ply of paper, with the rock dust and/or seeds located between the first and second plies. The paper product may be sealed around its periphery to avoid leakage of the rock dust or seeds.

EXAMPLE 1

Paper Product Including Rock Dust and Seeds

In a first example of a paper product according to the present invention, the product includes both rock dust and a combination of seeds suitable for the Australian environment, and possibly other geographical environments. The rock dust included in this example is a glacial moraine, although as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, other rock dusts may be used without departing from the scope of the present invention.

A combination of seeds of the present example is shown below in Table 1:

TABLE 1
Seed constituents
SPECIESApprox. viable seed/kgSeed/km
Bracteantha1,400,0002,000
Casuarina300,0001,000
Callistemon1,000,0002,000
Eucalyptus300,0001,000
Leptospermum600,0002,000
Melaleuca1,100,0002,000
Total10,000seeds

EXAMPLE 2

Paper Product Including Rock Dust and Seeds

In a second example of a paper product according to the present invention, the product again includes both rock dust and a combination of seeds suitable for the Australian environment. Again, the rock dust included in this example is a glacial moraine, although as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, other rock dusts may be used without departing from the scope of the present invention.

A further combination of seeds suitable for the present invention is shown below in Table 2:

TABLE 2
Seed constituents
SPECIESApprox. viable seed/kgSeed/km
Bracteantha1,400,0002,000
Casuarina300,000500
Callistemon1,000,0002,000
Eucalyptus300,000500
Kunzea800,0001,000
Leptospermum600,0001,000
Melaleuca1,100,0002,000
Total9,000seeds

The paper products of Examples 1 and 2 will provide approximately 10 rolls of toilet paper per kilometre of paper being formed, with each roll having approximately 1,000 sheets of paper.

The products of these examples are formed from recycled unbleached paper. Alternatively, virgin pulp may be used. No adhesives are necessary to adhere the seeds or the rock dust to the paper product, although in a less preferred embodiment the rock dust and/or the seeds may be adhered to the paper product using a suitable adhesive. Where an adhesive is used, it is preferably used only on the interior of a multiple ply paper product rather than on an outer surface of the paper product. Alternatively, the rock dust and/or seeds may be adhered as a coating to one side of the paper product, the person using the other side of the paper product.

When the paper product is disposed of in the environment as discussed above, the paper may, at least in Australia, spend some time upon or under the ground awaiting warmth and moisture for germination of the seeds. Although the seeds are initially located in a concentrated location, some of the seeds may be carried away by wind, rain and fauna, whilst some will remain at the original deposition site.

EXAMPLE 3

Paper Product with Only Rock Dust

In accordance with the invention, the present example is one in which a paper product is formed with only rock dust incorporated. The rock dust incorporated is preferably glacial moraine, however other rock dusts and combinations of rock dusts may be used.

The paper product is formed from a non-bleached recycled paper or alternatively virgin pulp, and is suitable to be used on land whereby the product, once used and discarded either by burial or by being left above the ground, the rock dust re-mineralises the adjacent soil, thus providing suitable environmental conditions for the promotion of micro-organism activity. The paper product according to the present example is also suitable for use and disposal in aqueous environments such as at sea, or waterways. The rock dust provided assists in feeding phytoplankton found in water environments, which assists in the break-down of the waste whilst assisting the water environment. Excessive human activity in certain regions has been detrimental to phytoplankton growth, thus exposing the stability of the region's biodiversity.

As will be appreciated, the present invention provides an environmentally friendly and cost effective paper product which assists in overcoming at least some of the deficiencies typified by prior art paper products, whilst assisting in the regeneration of soil and ecology by re-mineralising soil. Furthermore, a preferred embodiment of the present invention additionally provides a product which assists in the regeneration of flora, which provides long-term environmental advantages.

It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention described herein may be subject to variations and modifications. It is to be understood that the present invention extends to and encompasses all such variations and modifications that fall within the scope of the appended claims.