Paper is still a major means of communication which we use daily in form of newspapers, books, letters, posters, banknotes etc.
The paper making was invented around 100 BC in China. Though in Egypt, artificial blotting pads were made from the stems of the papyrus plant PAPYRUS (papyrus rolls) already 3500 BC.
Today´s paper making
The pulps are the base material for the manufacture of paper. These can be obtained from various constituents: cellulose from wood and related products such as e.g. sugar cane, straw, plant fibres from hemp or linen, cloth (rags) or from recycled paper (for example from household collections). The majority, however, is made from wood:
worldwide about 1/3 of all forests are used for the manufacture of paper – and overused (clearance).
The wood is being relieved from the bark and chopped. With the addition of a lot of water the chips are then being pulverised in press or continuous grinders. Afterwards the particles are filtered and purified in several successive baths to obtain a homogeneous fibre mass. The modern paper production takes place with the help of gigantic machines which have a length of about 100 m and a width up to 10 m.
The paper sheet is produced at a rate of up to 1800 m / min. The costs of a paper machine are enormous, amounting to over one billion (CHF). The demand in energy and water for the production of fresh fibre paper is very high, just as CO2 emissions. Significantly lower are electricity and water consumption, water pollution and CO2 emissions in the production of recycled paper from recovered paper. See eco-balance using the example of copy paper: