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Paper made from fallen leaves is the invention up for this year’s Young Inventors Prize at the European Patent Office Inventor Awards


Paper made from fallen leaves is Releaf Paper’s core business. The company is a young, innovative one that turns green waste into valuable raw materials for the paper and packaging industry. By combining scientific and entrepreneurial enthusiasm, we are changing people’s perceptions of the responsible use of resources for paper production.

Releaf Paper is a company born in 2021 in Ukraine as a result of the collaboration of a talented scientist and a successful entrepreneur. If focuses on producing paper from fallen leaves. Started as a research project by a 16-year-old schoolboy, in 5 years Releaf Paper has grown into an international dynamic startup with offices in Paris and Kyiv and global ambitions. 

About Releaf Paper

Traditional paper mills have an immense ecological footprint. Valentyn Frechka, 16-years old Ukrainian student, decided to study alternative sources of cellulose and thereby reduce deforestation.  He began by researching grass and straw, testing how much cellulose they contained and whether it could be removed. Some day he wondered why fallen leaves could not be a source of cellulose?  Scientist Valentyn then created a solution for turning fallen leaves into paper. It revealed itself to be easily scalable, as cities already collect and dispose of thousands of tons of leaves every year!

credit: Craig Tidball via Unsplash

In early 2018 during long experiments in school lab he finally obtained for the first-time suitable prototypes. Next 2 year he was presenting his invention worldwide, and it has been duly appreciated everywher. Few more years of development, and eventually, together with his partner Alexander, they set up a company to work and serve humanity.

Paper, fiber and packaging made out of fallen leaves are now in the company products portfolio. 


Releaf Paper developed its own patented technology of processing fallen leaves info fibers. Using combination of mechanical, thermal and chemical treatment, we not only dispose green wastes, but also ensure source of sustainable raw-materials for paper & packaging industries.

Leaves in cities are biological waste that needs to be disposed of safely. Burning leaves catastrophically disrupts the nitrogen-oxygen ratio, as the air is polluted with carbon monoxide and other harmful gases that harm nature, animals and, of course, people. At the same time, leaves are a source of pulp, which is used to make paper. For us, this is a valuable and affordable raw material, and entire infrastructures have been created in cities to collect it. Leaves regenerate quickly and are available all year round. And most importantly, the fibres of the leaves have paper-forming properties.

Powered by sustainability

At Releaf Paper, they believe that trees should grow in the forest, humanity should breathe clean air, and paper should be made from green wastes. Therefore the company is making packaging with a great respect to resources and environment.

Releaf Paper follows sustainability – from the raw materials it use, the technology behind the processing, and in saving resources during production. All this makes its products sustainable and their impact on the environment, including carbon dioxide emissions, minimal. In addition, by using green waste fibers, it meet the growing demand for paper packaging, thereby reducing deforestation. This, in turn, gives an additional positive impact of its solution.

credits: Releaf

How it works

  • Leaves transportation. Leaves are collected from urban ecosystems of cities in residental districts, parks, sidewalks. Municipal services collect the leaves and deliver them to the company
  • Pre-treatment.  Leaves are cleaned from solid compounds, wash and dry it up. Compressing of cleaned leaves allows to store raw materials all year round and ensures the stability of the production cycle
  • Treatment. Depending on type of product, mechanical or\and thermo-mechanical treatment on special industrial equipment is used.  As a results, green mass is turning into raw-materials with paper-forming properties
  • Paper production. Paper production is based on contracted paper mills. Depending on the need, the paper can be produced from Releaf Fiber alone or with the addition of waste paper or virgin pulp

Using leaves exclusively from urban areas, sidewalks, and roadways for paper production, Releaf helps avoid the negative impacts on soil and microorganisms that would come from collecting leaves out in nature. As well as paper, Releaf also creates sustainable packaging and bags, all of which can also be recycled in the standard paper waste stream!

About EPO Inventors Award

Releaf Paper is finalist in the Young Inventors Prize run by the European Patent Office. The EPO launched the Award in 2006 to give inventors the recognition they deserve. And, like every competition, it acts as an incentive for others.
The European Inventor Award pays tribute to inventors who transform their ideas into solutions that address some of the greatest challenges of our time. It is a celebration of the inventive spirit, the individual contributions of talented inventors, and the European patent system that protects invention and encourages innovation.

The Trophy

European Inventor Award winners receive striking trophies in the shape of a sail. As a lasting symbol of exploration and ingenuity, the sail shows how inventive ideas can propel humankind to uncharted shores. German industrial designer Miriam Irle conceived the original design and each year the trophy is crafted with new materials. The 2023 trophies were made of ceramics and decorated with traditional Valencian motifs. The Young Inventors Prize trophies were painted by Rosh333, a street artist from Spain

The Jury

The European Inventor Award jury consists of inventors who are all former finalists. To judge proposals, the independent panel will draw on their wealth of technical, business, and intellectual property expertise. Make sure to tune into the European Inventor Award Ceremony on the 9th July to discover if Releaf Paper will be among the winners!

sources: goinggreenmedia IG

cover image: Releaf Paper

author: Barbara Marcotulli


Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since its very first editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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