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6 myths and facts about production of paper and board

Выпускать бумагу на старом оборудовании экономически невыгодноThere is a popular opinion that production of paper, board and products from them are harmful for the environment. Alexei Sergeev executive director SRO Association “League of waste paper processers” will help to understand if it is correct in reality.
Myth №1 paper industry destroys forest. For production of paper from row pulp is used less 15% of prepared forest in Russia, this value is on the level 11%.  
Usually it is the lowest-grade wood because high quality wood is more profitable to use in other spheres of industry: building, furniture production and others. Rejects from wood processing in mentioned spheres: clips, chippings, branches, bark are used as raw material for paper industry.

Бумагу и технический картон производят в основном из макулатурыMore 50% of fiber used for production of technical board and paper in Russia is produced from second-hand material – waste paper. This value increased for the last 15 years in some tomes and it continues to increase. Today production capacities of the country allow to process about 4,5 mln. ton of waste paper per year. Even if it is able to collect waste paper more, the sphere will increase existing capacity. But unfortunately, today we buy more waste paper in the nearest countries and about 4 mln.ton of own waste paper we send to landfills as unsorted rubbish.  
Myth №2 Production of paper harms the environment because we use a lot of energy and water.
Production of paper products in Russia is high efficiency, innovation industry with small amount of pollutant emission. Pulp-paper industry of Russia continues to invest to production development, innovation, sewage facility. Of course, not all factories in Russia are able to work in current conditions. In China such factories are simple closed accordance to the strategy of government regulation sent to stimulation of sphere rebuild.
As in most countries, during paper production water plays the most important role. Most part of water used in paper production is cleaned to environment or reused in production process. So less than 15% of used water is actually used by final products and lost at the result of evaporation.
Any industrial production requires energy and paper production is not exclusion. Energy is used for the operation of paper machines and heat generation for drying paper after production. Third part of costs for paper production is energy costs, so mills taking into account profitability of production process try to provide maximum energy usage reducing.
If it is oriented for production of material only according to weight, so last investigation show the leadership of paper on energy consumption during production process in comparison with plastic. Plastic production from clean oil requires from 62 to 108 MJ/kg of energy. This value during paper production or board from wood is 25-50MJ/kg. There is a great difference, isn’t it?
Myth №3 Paper - non-renewable resource because trees are cut more that grows.
In Europe raw pulp during board production is only 11%, the rest part – waste paper. Russia goes in the same direction. Paper is not main “primal cause” of wood preparation. And within effective wood usage in accordance with principles of stable development Russia will be able to solve the problems in this sphere as in Europe.Бумага - природный биоразлагаемый полимер, безвредный для природы
And non-renewable resource is oil which soon or late will be finished. Not everybody knows that during plastic production very much oil is used. Plastic production in the world increased from 15 mln. to in 60-s to 311 mln.ton in 2014 and as it is expected it will be increased in three times to the year 2050 when it will use 20% of drilled oil every year! According to the report of Fund Ellen Makartur plastic production consumes more 6% of oil every year.
You can acquaint with the word combination "non-renewable resource" in detail in Wikipedia. In other article there you can find information about how much oil reserves will be enough. For Russia it is 21 years. Even if by a some miracle it is found some reserves in the nearest time, anyway this figure is equal 40-50 years and then only gas will keep or the other variant – purchase of oil in other countries when it won’t be finished there. It is not difficult to predict the price of those other countries.
 Myth №4 The most unsuccessful choice for buying it he shop – paper bag.  
You can find the statement on the Internet"...the only plus of paper bags – availability to decompose quickly...". It is not clear why already 69 countries have embargo and others 33 countries have fee for usage of disposable plastic bags for purchases. Plastic is everywhere, in our food, water, air, in every of us, full up landfills with plastic rejects – this is the problem of our society today. And we can only guess what plastic particle storage in our body will lead to. Plastic waste letters the whole planet: from far parts of Antarctic to the deepest ocean trench.
 Paper difference from plastic is natural biodegradable material not simply recyclable but and the most recycled both in Russia and all over the world.
Nobody suggests everywhere to change all plastic bags on paper and all plastic packaging on paper, it is impossible! But the choice must be intelligent and intended.
Myth №5. Plastic is easier paper and it means logistic of its returning to secondary circle is more profitable.  
This statement is true but quite the opposite. During returning ton of plastic to secondary circle transport costs are much higher than paper has because it is necessary more transport costs for transfer because of material volume and its structure. Because of difficulty press operation of plastic packaging main volume of it is tanks with rather high stiffness (jars and bottles of different configurations) logistic of this material for recycling is much more expensive than at paper packaging!  
Myth №6. For improving characteristics of paper polymers are added to it. Бумага легко поддаётся вторичной переработке
Cellulose is a polymer. If we speak about plastic, so it is not added to paper, if only it is not packaging production for drinks and some other types of paper which is not many in production volume. Usually it is not used any additives, toxic or complicating the process of secondary processing during paper production. But you should not eat paper but there won’t be any poisoning from eating a piece of paper where you wrote your wish.
Problem of additives is only for plastic. Plastic contains additives which determine its characteristics including strength, color and flexibility. Most of thousand these chemical agents are not regulated. These additives simply get to secondary plastic because nobody knows how to take out them. Clear plastic is not toxic itself, however there are some toxic additives, their usage is limited by government in many countries.
So, it is not easy to process plastic because, firstly there a lot of types of material, secondly there is a big amount of combination of this material with adding of thousand additives. It really decrease the opportunity of material processing and percentage of processing keeps low even in leading countries for development of circular economy.
Besides, most part of plastic is not profitable to process on the base of market condition without participation of subsidies. Production increasing of cheap primary plastic mines the argument that processing can allow crisis of plastic rejects. Most part of secondary plastic is not able to compete with primary plastic at the market. Excluding bottles from polyethyleneterephthalate and LDPE the other plastic rejects are usually useless. That is why we hear about processing of material but there is no actual market for production of new products from secondary plastic.
In case with products from waste material main sales area increase every year by an average of 5% and according to prediction this increasing will keep at this level or even more. Waste paper has a demand at the market – both import and export market. But all types of waste paper are processed equally – by separating on fibers in water, the difference only in speed of the process, color (white or nonwhite) and type of products (paper, board).
Alexei Sergeev executive director of SRO Association “League of waste paper processers”

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