Pulp and paper industry

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International Paper is the world’s largest pulp and paper maker.
Paper mill Mondi in Ružomberok, Slovakia.

The pulp and paper industry comprises companies that use wood as raw material and produce pulp, paper, paperboard and other cellulose-based products.

The industry is dominated by North American (United States and Canada), northern European (Finland, Sweden, and North-West Russia) and East Asian countries (such as East Siberian Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea). Australasia and Brazil also have significant pulp and paper enterprises. The United States had been the world's leading producer of paper until it was overtaken by China in 2009.[1]

The industry is criticized by environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council for unsustainable deforestation and clearcutting of old-growth forest.[2] The industry trend is to expand globally to countries like Russia, China and Indonesia with low wages and low environmental oversight.[3] According to Greenpeace, farmers in Central America illegally rip up vast tracts of native forest for cattle and soybean production without any consequences,[4] and companies who buy timber from private land owners contribute to massive deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest.[5]

Considering that the pulp and paper industry is a practitioner of nanotechnology,[6] then it is easily the world's largest.[7]

The manufacturing process[edit]


Diagram showing the sections of the Fourdrinier machine

The pulp is fed to a paper machine where it is formed as a paper web and the water is removed from it by pressing and drying.

Pressing the sheet removes the water by force. Once the water is forced from the sheet, a special kind of felt, which is not to be confused with the traditional one, is used to collect the water. Whereas, when making paper by hand, a blotter sheet is used instead.

Drying involves using air or heat to remove water from the paper sheets. In the earliest days of paper making, this was done by hanging the sheets like laundry. In more modern times, various forms of heated drying mechanisms are used. On the paper machine, the most common is the steam heated can dryer.


History of the paper industry[edit]

The first mechanised paper machine was installed at Frogmore Mill, Apsley, Hertfordshire in 1803, followed by another in 1804.[8] The site operates currently as a museum. [9]

Environmental effects[edit]

Current production volumes and sales[edit]

List of main countries by production quantity[edit]

According to statistic data by RISI, main producing countries of paper and paperboard, not including pulp, in the world are as follows:[10]

Country Production in 2011
(1,000 ton)
Production in 2010
(1,000 ton)
1  China 99,300 24.9% 1 92,599
2  United States 75,083 18.8% 2 75,849
3  Japan 26,627 6.7% 3 27,288
4  Germany 22,698 5.7% 4 23,122
5  Canada 12,112 3.0% 5 12,787
6  South Korea 11,492 2.9% 8 11,120
7  Finland 11,329 2.8% 6 11,789
8  Sweden 11,298 2.8% 7 11,410
9  Brazil 10,159 2.5% 10 9,796
10  Indonesia 10,035 2.5% 9 9,951
  World Total 398,975 100.0%   394,244

List of main company groups by production quantity[edit]

The world's main paper and paperboard company groups are as follows. (Some figures are estimates.):[11]

Rank Company Group Country Production in 2015
(1,000 ton)
Rank by Sales
1 International Paper  United States 23315 1
2 Nine Dragon Paper Holdings  China 12630 18
3 WestRock  United States 12487 4
4 UPM  Finland 9771 5
5 Stora Enso  Finland 9188 8
6 Oji Paper Company  Japan 9115 3
7 Sappi  South Africa 7306 15
8 Smurfit Kappa Group  Ireland 7000 9
9 DS Smith  United Kingdom 6802 13
10 Nippon Paper  Japan 6542 11

List by net sales[edit]

In 2008, the top 10 forest, paper and packaging products companies were, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers:[12]

Rank Company Country 2008 Net Sales
2008 Net Income (Loss)
1 International Paper  United States 24,829 (1,282)
2 Kimberly-Clark  United States 19,415 1,690
3 SCA  Sweden 16,965 857
4 Stora Enso  Finland 16,227 (991)
5 UPM  Finland 13,920 (263)
6 Oji Paper  Japan 12,788 114
7 Nippon Unipac  Japan 11,753 55
8 Smurfit Kappa  Ireland 10,390 (73)
9 Metsäliitto  Finland 9,335 (313)
10 Mondi Group  UK/ South Africa 9,466 (310)

Manufacturers and suppliers for the industry[edit]

Leading manufacturers of capital equipment with over $1 billion in annual revenue for the pulp and paper industry include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ De Sisti, Mike (12 December 2012). "China's Paper Operation". Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "NRDC: Paper Industry Laying Waste to North American Forests". www.nrdc.org. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  3. ^ "A crumpling paper industry". Oregon Local News. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  4. ^ "Amazon draught speeds up destruction The WE News Archives". www.thewe.cc. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  5. ^ Phillips, Tom (2011-05-20). "Brazil forms 'crisis cabinet' following unexpected deforestation surge". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  6. ^ Pira International Ltd. Nanotechnology in Paper Production. iSmithers Rapra Publishing. ISBN 184735811X. 
  7. ^ Hubbe, M.A. (2006). "Does production of the world's highest-tonnage manufactured item often involve nanotechnology?". Nanotechnology Perceptions. 2 (3): 263–265. ISSN 1660-6795. 
  8. ^ Hills, Richard, "Papermaking in Britain 1488–1988", Athlone Press, 1988.
  9. ^ "The Paper Trail at Frogmore Mill". Apsley Paper Trail charity. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Japan in the World (according to the figure in Annual Review of Global Pulp and Paper Statistics by RISI)" (in Japanese). Japan Paper Association. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  11. ^ "The PPI Top 100". RISI. Retrieved 2017-02-02. 
  12. ^ "Global Forest, Paper & Packaging Industry Survey: 2009 Edition - Survey of 2008 Results" (pdf). PricewaterhouseCoopers. p. 12. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 

External links[edit]