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Dec 12.16

Gifts Wrapped Up with Love: Khadi Papers

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Khadi Papers is 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. Lush UK buyer Gabbi Loedolff 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 it.”

The team presses the sheets in the paper making process

Khadi team presses the sheets

To create the paper, cotton rags are beaten with water for about 6 hours to completely 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 independent, and it's 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.

You can find plenty of different designs and types of this unique paper in many of our year-round gfts. The paper is sent to our factories where our gifts team lovingly packages and hand-wraps every gift before we send them out to stores. It's the handmade touch from the inside-out!

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