Hahnemühle Blog Series
As we mentioned in our last blog, Hahnemühle has a long company history of creating artist quality paper and sketchbooks. They thrive on being environmentally friendly by sourcing their materials responsibly as well as using other initiatives to help with this. For example, generating their own energy and creating the ‘Green Rooster’ initiative that supports animal and environmental protection. The company is a pioneer and market leader that continuously improves and refines it’s papers and practices.
Focusing on these initiatives as well as being an expert in paper production has been at the foundations of Hahnemühle for over 400 years. Sustainability plays such a key role that their main production site is located at the edge of a nature reserve which means they can control all the key elements that produce their paper such as water, fibres and energy consumption which is something of a high priority for the company so they can be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Because of their location they are stringent with their environmental requirements for their production process defined by the European flora-fauna Habitats Directive (FFH area) and confirmed by a study conducted by the Paper Technology Foundation in Munich. The water used does not need to be chemically treated because it is sourced from the reserve. This means that it has a high level of purity which is perfect for their high quality paper. Additionally, at the end of the production cycle whatever water is left gets returned back to the river as it has not been contaminated with pollutants. This shows that they not only use the water sparingly but also responsibly as well.
To maintain their quality in paper they source primary fibres and generally use linter line fibres from coniferous and deciduous trees which are very fine and silky fibres that adhere to the seeds of the cotton plant. This creates a lignin-free cellulose and will therefore create a sulphur free element. Because of this, the paper becomes genuinely acid-free. The process plays an essential role with Hahnemühle as it makes the paper environmentally friendly and bio-degradable. Using this fibre also plays an essential role in creating 100% cotton paper. Their suppliers are also FSC and PEFC certified which means they source the fibres responsibly from sustainably managed forests. Additionally they also seek cellulose alternatives by developing paper from materials such as bamboo.
Hahnemühle ensures they use natural gas and electricity when sourcing there energy. They exclusively generate all of their renewable sources through the use of wind, water and solar energy. This means that they are able to sustainably reduce CO2 emissions. For example, producing their own steam and heat means the emissions from their furnace are more than 40% below the legal limit. Maintaining and generating their own energy leads to a further control of protecting the environment around the paper mill.
Not only does Hahnemühle take measurements with environmental factors but they also use paper quality parameters as well. These parameters include raw material composition (the quality of the raw materials used), clarity, opacity, transparency, grammage (which all relate to the thickness of the paper), strength (testing how strong and resistant it is), grain, paper surface (the finish on the paper) and ageing (how long the paper lasts). These are all measures that are tested and taken into consideration when making the paper.
Another measurement that is taken into consideration is sizing. This is something important to highlight when it comes to Hahnemühle as all of their pads are vegan friendly which is down to how it is sized. Sizing paper is very important as it protects the paper from ageing and the sheets become less porous. Gelatin is one of the most common ingredients used, however, Hahnemühle uses a synthetic sizing that doesn’t harm any animals making it vegan friendly, this once again demonstrates how environmentally friendly they are.
Hahnemühle uses a Foundrinier Paper Machine
Hahnemühle has a large range of extremely versatile papers that are created using two different machines. A cylinder mould machine uses a process that mimics the traditional paper making process which results in ‘genuine mould-made papers’, something that you would get from making paper by hand. Although this is done through a machine it still naturally provides deckle edges and genuine watermarks. It combines the format of machine made paper with the individual characteristics of handmade paper. The Foundrinier paper machine uses a continuously rotating, flat plastic mould which provides an even mixture of water and fibres. With this machine it is dried and then pressed with felts that are typically made of wool or mixed fabrics resulting in the same texture and finish in every sheet. For more details on paper making machines or sizing please check out our Basic Breakdown Blogs.
Creating a high quality artist paper that is extremely environmentally friendly is no easy feat. Hahnemühle has expertly done this and made sure each precaution is put in place to protect the environment the best they can whilst also producing exceptional paper and sketchbooks. It is clear to see why they have successfully been making paper for over 400 years and have fine-tuned there production process at every stage leading too an award winning company.
Want to know more about this brand? Check out part three of our Hahnemühle series which explores some top the products and their uses.