As printers, O’Brien & Whitaker were vigilant in their use of better and minimally toxic pressroom chemicals and inks, but their attention to papers set them apart from typical printers. They had used kenaf paper for their environmentally oriented clients for years, and they were drawn to the concept of translating a beautiful aesthetic for their product line of books into support for their longtime environmental standards. The natural choice for the text paper in their books was a 30% tree-free kenaf fiber/70% recycled sheet.
Kenaf is a 4000 year old crop that originated in Africa, and now grows well in many parts of the U.S. The plant's fiber yield is nearly five times greater than that of Southern Pine trees, and requires no fertilizers or pesticides for growth. Kenaf fiber papers are energy efficient to process, while using fewer chemicals and no chlorine compounds.