Paper – The Natural Resource
The paper industry uses two principal raw materials: wood and recovered paper. In Europe, each currently represents approximately 50% of production. We cannot just use recovered paper to make new paper, as eventually there will be no paper left, once the fibres lose their strength.
To maintain quality and strength, it is essential that we introduce new or virgin fibres to deliver a quality product.
Wood is the primary raw material for the pulp and paper industry, because it is the main source of cellulose fibre. The paper industry uses a large variety of different soft and hard woods to produce paper, and the papermaker often mixes a range of wood pulps with different characteristics to create a paper or board.
Approximately, 26% of the wood used for papermaking comes from wood residues generated from other industries, such as saw mills, construction and furniture manufactures making, and around 50% of the roundwood used in Europe comes from commercial thinning, necessary to keep Europe’s forests healthy.
Most paper can be recycled or contains recovered fibres. The fibres inside paper products can be reused several times to produce new high-quality products, fit for purpose, and not necessarily the same type of product. Different paper grades have different requirements.
What is paramount is that paper products are designed for recyclability so that they can be increasingly recovered and reused in new paper products. Eventually, having been used several times to produce paper products, the fibres become weakened and the recovered paper is used to produce renewable energy to support the papermaking process instead.
Recycling is both economically and ecologically sound and a vital part of paper production, clearly illustrating how sustainability and competitiveness can go hand in hand.