It was 1736 when the “Serenissima” Republic of Venice authorised the conversion of a windmill in Rossano Veneto into a factory for the production of paper.

The Favini family came into the picture in 1906 when they bought the Rossano Veneto factory.

In 1991, at the request of the Venice Magistracy, Favini set out on a sustainability path that still continues today. At the time, the lagoon and the Adriatic Coast from Venice to Conero were infested with algae and mucilage.

The main reason for the invasion was the significant presence of agriculture-related pollutants in the waters of the lagoon. The authorities dragged the lagoon and found themselves with dozens of tonnes of algae to be managed and sent to landfill. So they asked companies from a variety of sectors to develop an industrial use for the algae.

Having patented an algae drying and micronisation system, Favini successfully produced the first Carta Alga, a paper whose usability and printability is similar to that of normal paper made wood pulp cellulose, but contains up to 25{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} less cellulose. Given that in the last twenty years the company has sold around 15,000 tonnes of paper, clearly thousands of trees have been saved from felling.

“It was very difficult at first. Both because algae have too low a fibre content, and because the market was not ready: the only ecological paper around was recycled paper,” says Favini brand manager Michele Posocco. “So we decided to use the whole algae by pulverising it and combining it with the dilute suspension. The product was stable and usable, but the market still wasn’t ready.”

How did things change?

“Consumer awareness about sustainability grew, without question. So we moved from Alga Carta to Crush, a paper made with food and agricultural production waste: coffee endocarps, almond shells, de-oiled olive pomace, orange peel. Once again, the printability and functionality of the paper were similar to normal paper, but like Alga Carta significantly reduced consumption of wood pulp cellulose. There was a strong rise in demand for this type of product from mass merchandisers, a sign that consumers had become more aware of and sensitive to sustainability.”

And the new line: Remake.

“In this case, the trigger came from the world of fashion. The top houses, including Armani, asked for a packaging paper that was more aligned with their supply chain. We began testing production of a type of paper developed with textile manufacturing waste. Remake is made from leather fibres and collagen. An extraordinary material. We make a selection at source, choosing only Italian leather that has undergone vegetable tanning. That way we exclude the presence of chrome in our paper, a contaminant harmful to people’s health.”

How is this paper used?

“Like our previous lines, Remake is similar to paper obtained from wood pulp. The 25{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of leather fibres we add to the suspension produces a lighter, more voluminous paper, with larger fibres. The result is a significant reduction in the paper density and weight. In short, by employing the waste from the tanning industry, one of the least environment-friendly sectors, we use fewer trees and less paper.”