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Overview of pulp and paper manufacturing processes
Environmental and economic context for the recommendations
Recommendations for purchasing paper made with environmentally preferable processes
Answers to frequently asked questions
PULP AND PAPER MANUFACTURING
This chapter and the Paper Task Force recommendations on pulp and paper manufacturing are intended to: • Enhance the awareness and knowledge of purchasers and users
This chapter presents the Paper Task Force’s recommendations and implementation options for buying paper products made with environmentally preferable manufacturing processes. It also provides a summary of the supporting rationale for the recommendations and an overview of pulp and paper manufacturing processes.
How Is Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Relevant to Purchasers?
Pulp and paper manufacturing accounts for the vast majority of the environmental impacts of the paper lifecycle. The manufacturing process that transforms wood from trees into thin, uniform paper products requires the intensive use of wood, energy and chemicals. This process also consumes thousands of gallons of a finite resource, clean water, to make each ton of paper. Pollution literally represents a waste of these resources, in the form of air emissions, waterborne wastes (effluent), solid waste and waste heat. Among primary manufacturing industries, for example, paper manufacturing is the fourth-largest user of energy and the largest generator of wastes, measured by weight.1 The paper industry and the nation’s environmental laws have done much to reduce the environmental impacts of pulp and paper manufacturing over the last 25 years. In this resource-intensive industry, however, environmental issues will always be an intrinsic part of manufacturing, especially since awareness of these impacts has increased among communities near mills and customers alike. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce these impacts. The concept of pollution prevention forms the foundation of the Paper Task Force’s recommendations on pulp and paper manufacturing. Pollution-prevention approaches use resources more efficiently and thus reduce pollution at the source as opposed to “end-of-the-pipe” pollution-control approaches. As this chapter will show, it is in paper users’ interest to send clear, long-term signals of their preference for paper products made using pollution-prevention approaches. Over the last two years
of paper, by providing clear information on several pulp and paper manufacturing processes and their environmental performance. • Formulate a number of simple actions that purchasers can take
to purchase paper made with environmentally preferable manufacturing processes. • Provide specific guidance that purchasers can use to incorporate an assessment of the environmental performance of pulp and paper manufacturing processes as an explicit purchasing criterion, along with more traditional criteria such as availability, cost and product performance.
paper manufacturers have built up cash resources as a result of recent high paper prices and are preparing for their next round of investments. The time is right for purchasers to use the market to send a signal about their long-term environmental preferences.
Overview of the Chapter
The presentation in this chapter builds in sequence through six major sections: • An overview of the pulp and paper manufacturing process. For readers not familiar with pulp and paper manufacturing, this section defines the basic concepts and technical terms that are used in the recommendations. The section begins by describing the raw materials and other inputs used in pulp and paper manufacturing, such as wood, water, chemicals and...