A Publication on World Pulp, Paper & Allied Industry

October-December'2001

Special Report

   

ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY WASTE PAPER
by K. M. Shahid*


Indian paper industry is not very old. The paper manufacturing in India started just more than 100 years back. In fact the mechanized paper manufacturing process was introduced in 1930s only. The industry has, of course made steady and remarkable progress in this short time. The paper industry is very important from the viewpoint of consumers, manufacturers and society. Today, the total installed capacity of paper and newsprint production is around 6.36 million tons of which the large & medium segment contributes to 2.88 million tons and the small units to 3.49 million tons. The demand may go up to 9 million tons by 2010. Today, the industry is facing many new challenges relating to raw materials, energy and quality .The paper industry is one of the chemical industries, which requires considerable quantities of resources like cellulosic raw materials, water, energy, chemicals etc. This industry is also rated as one of the highly energy intensive and polluting industries.

The cellulosic raw materials constitute one of the main inputs in the paper manufacturing process. For sustainable growth and survival of the industry, the availability of the fibrous raw material is the key factor. Till recently the industry was primarily dependent on bamboo as its main source of fiber supply, In early 70’s, there was a considerable increase in the installed capacity and to augment this capacity alternate raw materials such as cereal straws, bagasse etc became the other fiber sources of the paper industry. Today, the industry is using mixed raw material furnish in paper manufacturing process. One of the major drawbacks of the use of mixed raw material is the inferior quality of paper products and also it becomes difficult to use some of the advanced technologies, which are ideal for uniform raw material.

The availability & cost of fibrous raw materials has become one of the major problems before the industry. By 2010, the projected demand for various raw materials clearly shows that due to limited availability of forest based raw materials such as bamboo and hardwood, the industry will have to heavily depend on the unconventional raw materials such as cereal straws, bagasse and grasses.

RECYCLED FIBRES

The other important fiber source for manufacturing paper will be waste paper i.e. recycled fibers. The trends in world consumption of paper making fibres show the total consumption of about 380 million tons in 2005, of which 130 million tons will be chemical pulp. The chemical pulp, which is currently the largest single source of paper making fibre, will lose its dominant position to recycled fibre from waste paper in coming years. The per capita demand for paper and paper products is expected to reach about 8 kgs by 2010 requiring production of nearly 9-10 million tons of paper and newsprint, which is three times more than the current level. Looking into the situation of availability of the raw materials, the waste paper is going to be the mainstay as recycled fibre for pulp and paper industry.

More than one third of paper used is made of recycled fibre. During the 1990's use of recycled fibres has grown from 91 million tons to 180 million tons today. The annual growth of recycled fibre use was 5.3% during 1970-90. The rate of growth during the 1990-2000 is estimated to be 4.9% compared to a growth rate of 2.5% of paper production. The recycled fibre utilisation rate has grown from 38% in1991 to 49% in 2000. In other countries the level of use of recycled fiber has reached upto 60% in the fiber furnish. The growth in the use of recycled fibre has been steadily rising in all geographical regions, except in Japan, where the recovery rate and utilisation rate are already high.

The recycled fibre has been used in Western Europe for industrial grades of paper. Printing & Writing papers will also be growing application for recycled fibre, although starting with a low base. The growth of use of recycled fibre was fastest in newsprint and tissues during 1980s. This growth continued also during 1990s, with the utilisation rates reaching 43% in Western Europe.

Recycling in countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Nordic countries has long traditions. The recovery rates will keep on rising due to intensified collection of paper, boosted by expanding production of recycled fibre based paper and board.

Countries like Germany have made it statutory requirement that some of the products must be made from recycled fiber. The spread of mandatory recycling legislation throughout Western Europe and North America will promote use of recycled fibres. Many Governments insist on recycling as a means of reducing demands on land fills for waste disposal. This is coupled with the fact that this initiative would reduce pressure on the world’s orest resources. Advantages of the increased use of recycled fiber are the conservation of chemicals, energy and water and also the paper manufactured by recycled fiber is environmental friendly.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMODITY

Waste Paper or Recovered paper can be divided into two main streams, one -paper which can be recovered and reused for paper and board production and two -paper which can not be reused for paper making. However, alternative uses of such mixed solid wastes can be for energy generation. The last resort of waste paper disposal is the incineration without energy recovery or simple landfilling.

There is a worldwide sale of 13 million tons of recycled fibre. According to a study by Jaakko Poyry, an International Consultancy Co. on Forest & Paper Industry, Asia Pacific and Middle East are and will continue to be the world’s largest deficit area. The main International trade flows are from North America to Asia (4 million tons) and within Europe (4 million tons).

Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) is the biggest group, accounting for over 40% of the world consumption. This paper grade is used mainly for production of corrugated containers. Wood free waste is mainly used for tissue, printing & writing grades. Mixed waste is used for lower quality of packaging grades. Newsprint & magazine waste is mainly used for deinking.

Asia and Latin America will continue to be main net importers and North America will be main net exporter. The EC region, which is the biggest net importer of chemical pulp, will be a net exporter of recycled fibre in the year 2000. There is going to be an international market of waste paper, as recycled paper has become an important element in the pulp & paper industry. It is going to be the main raw material which would be available and also environment friendly. India is yet to develop full fledged industry to collect waste paper, sort out in different grades and supply for use as recycled fibre. Some of the key issues, which need to be addressed on priority include :-

  1. Proper collection and gradation;

  2. Appropriate technology for removal of contraries from the waste paper;

  3. Suitable deinking process for indigenous waste paper;

  4. Quality of products from the recycled fibers;

There have been remarkable developments in the area of paper processing technologies and there is a need to adopt these developments in our conditions by making appropriate modifications.

In India, Central Pulp & Paper Research Institute has done exhaustive studies including the availability of waste paper indigenously and methods & technologies for effective and increased use of the recycled fibres. The Development Council for Pulp, Paper, Paper board and Allied Industries has also sponsored two projects to study the problems faced by the industry in using of the recycled fibres and suggest the ways & methods to over-come the problems. The Indian paper industry has also recognised the need and potential of the recycled fibre and making all out efforts in the increased utilisation of recycled fibres as was evident in a recent one day interaction meet at Saharanpur, which is also known as "paper capital of India".

The municipalities are required to play a very important role in sorting out the waste paper at the source of collection.All developed cities world over have arrangements for collecting domestic and office waste in different containers. The paper waste is collected separately, which is free from plastic, adhesive and other contaminated material. Proper laws or their strict enforcement is ensured by all concerned. The common man or woman also exhibit their highest level of social consciousness and commitment by helping in the use of recycled fibre to keep the environment clean by saving the wood from being used as fibre.

 
 

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