How is Paper Made?
Most people use paper daily. They print documents, take notes and mail letters. But have you ever wondered how paper is magically transformed from tree to paper product – and how long we’ve been using it?
The fact is this: the tradition of using paper is really old. Use of the material is traced back to ancient Egyptian civilizations. Of course, what they used was slightly different than today’s paper products. The ancient material was harvested from the steam of Papyrus, which is a plant located in the Nile Basin.
Today, the paper process starts with trees harvested from the forest – but what does the process involve?
The Process Unveiled
It’s no secret that paper comes from trees. In fact, 95 percent of raw material used in papermaking is extracted from trees. During the production process, the main ingredients are wood, water and energy.
The process starts in the forest. Trees are harvested and timber is transported to the paper making facility. Logs are disintegrated into tiny pieces to create pulp. This process is highly efficient, with at least 90 percent of wood converted to a pulp material.
Water is used to capture the pulp, which is then used to form large sheets. The large sheets go through a drying process, which removes even more of the pulp. After this process is complete, different types of paper are formed.
The Future of Paper
Paper has come a long way since harvesting the Papyrus plant in accident Egypt. And it’s likely the papermaking process will go through some change in the future. To start, manufactures may transition to using more environmentally friendly alternatives to expanded plastic packaging made out of paper, such as paper foam. The new material is biodegradable and can be recycled.
Also, with concerns about synthetic coatings, paper may shift to using zein, which is a type of corn protein for paper coatings in high grease applications, like popcorn bags.
Tyvek and Teslin may also be used in printing media, because it’s more durable than paper.
What changes do you think are on the horizon for paper making? Please share by leaving a comment below.