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Pulp and paper industry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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, specifically pulpwood, as raw material and produce pulp, paper, paperboard, and other cellulose-based products.

Diagram showing the sections of the Fourdrinier machine

Manufacturing process


In the manufacturing process, pulp is introduced into a paper machine where it is shaped into a paper web and water is extracted through pressing and drying stages.

Pressing involves removing water from the sheet by applying force. This process employs a specialized type of felt, distinct from traditional felt, to absorb the water. In contrast, hand-made paper uses a blotter sheet for this purpose. Drying involves eliminating water from the paper sheets through air or heat. Historically, this was achieved by hanging the sheets to dry, similar to laundry. In modern papermaking, various heated drying mechanisms are employed, with the steam-heated can dryer being the most prevalent on paper machines.[1][2][3][citation needed]



Papermaking as a craft is ancient, and for centuries it used various fibers, mainly grasses (cereal straws and others), or rags from old clothing made from them, in various preindustrial times and places. The commercial planting of domesticated mulberry trees to make pulp for papermaking is attested as early as the 6th century.[4] Due to advances in printing technology, the Chinese paper industry continued to grow under the Song dynasty to meet the rising demand for printed books. Demand for paper was also stimulated by the Song government, which needed a large supply of paper for printing paper money and exchange certificates.[5]

An example of an enterprising paper mill during the late phase of the preindustrial era is the mill by William Rittenhouse and sons at what is now preserved as Historic RittenhouseTown in Pennsylvania.

The first mechanised paper machine was installed at Frogmore Paper Mill, Apsley, Hertfordshire in 1803, followed by another in 1804.[6] The site operates currently as a museum.[7]

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the paper chemical technologies for making the pulp from wood rather than grasses underwent some major industrial-era upgrades, as first the soda pulping process and then the Kraft process helped reduce the unit cost of paper manufacture. This made paper newly abundant, and along with continual advancements in printing press technologies, as well as in transport technologies (for distribution), during these same centuries, led to greatly increased sales and circulation of newspapers, other periodicals, and books of every kind.

Environmental effects


The pulp and paper industry has been criticized by environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council for unsustainable deforestation and clearcutting of old-growth forest.[8] The industry trend is to expand globally to countries like Russia, China and Indonesia with low wages and low environmental oversight.[9] According to Greenpeace, farmers in Central America illegally rip up vast tracts of native forest for cattle and soybean production without any consequences,[10] and companies who buy timber from private land owners contribute to massive deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest.[11] On the other hand, the situation is quite different where forest growth has been on the increase for a number of years. It is estimated for instance that since 1990 forests have grown in Europe by 17 million hectares,[12] which has been supported through the practice of sustainable forest management by the industry. In Sweden, for every tree that is felled, two are planted.[13]

The pulp and paper industry consumes a significant amount of water and energy and produces wastewater with a high concentration of chemical oxygen demand (COD), among other contaminants.[14] Recent studies underline coagulation as an appropriate pre-treatment of pulp and paper industrial wastewater and as a cost-effective solution for the removal of COD and the reduction of pressures on the aquatic environment.[15]

Current production volumes and sales


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 industry also has a significant presence in a number of European countries including Germany, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. The United States had been the world's leading producer of paper until it was overtaken by China in 2009.[16]

List of main countries by production quantity


According to data from Statista, China produced 110 million metric tons in 2018 followed by the US with 72 million.[17]

According to statistic data by RISI, main producing countries of paper and paperboard, not including pulp, in the world are as follows:[18]

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


The world's main paper and paperboard company groups are as follows. (Some figures are estimates.):[19]

Rank Company group Country Production in 2015
(1,000 ton)
Rank by sales
1 International Paper  United States 23,315 1
2 Nine Dragon Paper Holdings  China 12,630 2
3 WestRock  United States 12,487 4
4 UPM  Finland 9,771 5
5 Stora Enso  Finland 9,188 8
6 Oji Paper Company  Japan 9,115 3
7 Sappi  South Africa 7,306 15
8 Smurfit Kappa  Ireland 7,000 9
9 DS Smith  United Kingdom 6,802 13
10 Nippon Paper  Japan 6,542 11

List by net sales


In 2008, the top 10 forest, paper and packaging products companies were, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers:[20]

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 (SEK) 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 Metsä Group  Finland 9,335 (313)
10 Mondi Group  UK/ South Africa 9,466 (310)

Manufacturers and suppliers for the industry

Pulp & Paper Building, in Japan. It hosts many organizations in the pulp and paper industry.

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

See also



  1. ^ "Fourdrinier - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 2024-05-20.
  2. ^ Clapperton, R. H. (2014-06-28). The Paper-making Machine: Its Invention, Evolution, and Development. Elsevier. ISBN 978-1-4832-7960-2.
  3. ^ Sindall, Robert Walter (1906). Paper Technology: An Elementary Manual on the Manufacture, Physical Qualities and Chemical Constituents of Paper and of Paper-making Fibres. C. Griffin, limited.
  4. ^ Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin (1985), Paper and Printing, Science and Civilisation in China: Chemistry and Chemical Technology, vol. 5 Part 1, Cambridge University Press, p. 58
  5. ^ Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin (1985), Paper and Printing, Science and Civilisation in China: Chemistry and Chemical Technology, vol. 5 Part 1, Cambridge University Press, p. 48
  6. ^ Hills, Richard, "Papermaking in Britain 1488–1988", Athlone Press, 1988.
  7. ^ "The Paper Trail at Frogmore Mill". Apsley Paper Trail charity. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  8. ^ "NRDC: Paper Industry Laying Waste to North American Forests". www.nrdc.org. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  9. ^ "A crumpling paper industry". Oregon Local News. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Amazon draught speeds up destruction The WE News Archives". www.thewe.cc. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  11. ^ Phillips, Tom (20 May 2011). "Brazil forms 'crisis cabinet' following unexpected deforestation surge". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Forests — European Environment Agency". www.eea.europa.eu. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  13. ^ "Will the EU turn the tide on forest growth and torpedo its bioeconomy agenda?". euractiv.com. 15 June 2017.
  14. ^ Auer, Matthew R. (2018-12-18). "Toxic releases from an industry in decline: Environmental trends in Maine's pulp and paper sector". Environmental Quality Management. 28 (2): 31–38. doi:10.1002/tqem.21594. S2CID 116422861.
  15. ^ Boguniewicz-Zablocka, Joanna; Klosok-Bazan, Iwona; Naddeo, Vincenzo; Mozejko, Clara A. (2019-09-26). "Cost-effective removal of COD in the pre-treatment of wastewater from the paper industry". Water Science and Technology. 81 (7): 1345–1353. doi:10.2166/wst.2019.328. hdl:11336/127959. ISSN 0273-1223. PMID 32616687.
  16. ^ De Sisti, Mike (12 December 2012). "China's Paper Operation". Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  17. ^ "Paper and cardboard production worldwide".
  18. ^ "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 15 November 2012.
  19. ^ "The PPI Top 100". RISI. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Global Forest, Paper & Packaging Industry Survey: 2009 Edition - Survey of 2008 Results" (PDF). PricewaterhouseCoopers. p. 12. Retrieved 24 February 2011.