Paper / How is it made
Paper is made from the cellulose fibres contained in wood. When that fibre is used for the first time, it is called virgin fibre and when it is recovered through recycling and reused as raw material for papermaking, it is called recycled fibre. But in fact it is the same fibre at different times in its life cycle.
Starting from wood, first the fibres are separated (as they are bonded by a kind of glue called lignin) by "milling" the wood or dissolving the glue with heat and chemicals. It is similar to what bees do when they chew wood and make a paste with which they build their paper nests.
The paper machine
To make paper, cellulose fibres - virgin or recycled – are mixed with water in a large container called a pulper and the mixture or slurry runs through the paper machine. In the machine, the slurry of water and fibre is placed on a long band driven by rollers. Then the water is removed using several procedures: gravity, vacuum, pressure and drying. And finally an enormous sheet of paper is obtained that is then wound into a reel.
A modern papermaking line can measure 200 meters in length and occupy a surface area as big as two football fields. It has more power than 500 cars together. It has up to 5,500 km of cables, 100 km of pipelines and hundreds of valves. It is fully automatic and is handled by means of up to 50 computer screens and keyboards. Hundreds of state-of-the-art sensors and scanners handle the control processes.
Used paper products are collected for recycling from town waste sorting services (blue container, company door to door pick-up and recycling stations) and from collection services carried out by private operators in large commercial areas aimed at distribution, industry, printing, etc.
Al paper and cardboard go to the warehouses of companies in the waste recovery sector where they undergo treatment consisting of classification, preparation and baling.
Finally, paper mills buy this paper and cardboard and recycle it. They use it as a raw material to produce recycled paper and cardboard.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW SOME MORE...
Sustainability Report 2015 Download