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Dec 12.16

Gifts wrapped up with love: Khadi Papers

Posted In: Handmade >> Ethical Buying

In January 2012, Gabbi from the LUSH buying team travelled to Tarihal, a small village in Southern India to visit Khadi Papers: our supplier of handmade gift wrap. They are a natural partner for LUSH, as they share our love of quality handmade products, believe in environmental stewardship and fair treatment of their employees.

Each sheet of Khadi paper is handmade with care by a trained paper artisan using recycled cotton rags which are offcuts from nearby t-shirt manufacturing facilities. Gabbi says, “one of the things that makes Khadi paper so unique, is that their paper is actually wood-free. It’s made from cotton rags, so it’s very friendly to the environment in a sense that no forests need to be cut down to make the paper”.

To create the paper, first the cotton rags are beaten with water for about 6 hours to undo the weaving process. What’s left is a fibrous pulp with the texture of squidgy porridge (which is loads of fun to squish in your hands!). The artisan pours the pulp over a fine mesh screen, then the sheet is pressed flat in a rolling machine. After setting for a short period, the paper sheets are hung up on a line to dry—outdoors in the dry season, and indoors in a drying oven during the rainy season.

The paper making process requires quite a lot of water to be used, but Khadi reduces their consumption by filtering and recycling their water ten to twenty times before it’s finally removed from the production process. They then use this water for irrigating their organic farm, where they grow coconut, mango and banana trees.

Khadi employs around 65 women and men from surrounding villages who are given on-the-job training in the art of papermaking. “All of the people here have been trained from scratch, because this isn’t traditionally a paper manufacturing area”. Gabbi says, “they’ve learned a completely new skillset, they’ve become economically quite independent, and its lovely to see such a high percentage of women as well.” Khadi also provides business for local bookbinders, printers, envelope makers and carpenters, creating a thriving local economy.

We support this economy by using Khadi Paper for several of our year-round gifts, and this Christmas, we’ve used Khadi’s paper for our limited edition Season’s Tweetings gift! This gift was created to give back to those who are always giving: whether it’s a family member, teacher or community volunteer, we all know someone who selflessly takes care of others all year round, and the holidays are the perfect time to spoil them. Seasons Tweetings contains seven lovely LUSH inventions for the shower and body, including Charity Pot hand and body lotion. Not only will you be supporting Khadi Papers with this gift but you’ll be supporting animal rights, humanitarian and environmental charities as $8.50 from the sale of each gift goes directly to our Charity Pot partners.

To learn more about the charities we support, or to nominate a charity, visit our Charity Pot website

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