Page last updated at 20:33 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 21:33 UK

Children able to eat their words

Exercise books made from sugar cane waste
The eco-friendly books cost the same to produce as wood pulp ones

A specialist education supplier based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, is producing eco-friendly school exercise books made from sugar cane waste.

The Consortium is working with developing countries to produce the books from a fibrous bi-product of the sugar cane crop called Bagasse.

Chief executive Melanie Teal said: "Sugarcane re-grows from the roots, so the plant lasts for many cycles.

"It's a really sustainable solution," she added.

Green product

The company is one of 4,000 worldwide that have signed up to the UN Global Compact which commits to working in ways which help ensure markets, commerce, technology and finance benefit societies everywhere.

Ms Teal said using agricultural crops rather than wood gave the added advantage of reducing deforestation, and helped protect fragile ecosystems that would otherwise break down as a result of logging in forested areas.

"In this instance it costs no more to buy an eco-friendly green product than a conventional wood-based paper product," said Ms Teal.

"The Consortium is the first supplier to source this product and with sustainability becoming increasingly important in the classroom, we think that once schools have tried these exercise books, there will be no going back."

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