What is the origin of the word paper?

The word paper originates from the Latin papyrus that comes from the Greek language. Throughout history, mankind has been using several materials as a writing support. In the beginning they used rocks, metals or argyle. Then, more appropriate materials were found, such as papyrus, parchment and, finally, paper.

The Egyptian people obtained papyrus from the papyri stalk, an aquatic plant that grows in the Nile River. They used to cut the stalk in large and thin stripes to obtain a sheet that was pressed and beaten with a packet in order to get uniform thickness.

Papyrus stopped being used after the Arabic invasion, which made the commercial trades harder between Occident and Orient and due to the parchment efficiency. Made from animal skin, without fur, ground in lime and satin, the parchment was very used in the middle age. The word parchment comes from the ancient city of Pérgamo, in Minor Asia, where parchments were made and were very appreciated.

Who invented paper?

The existences of similar materials of what we know as paper are known since 98 a.C. Although, the chinese Tsai Lun was considered the paper inventor. He was a court nobleman that offered a white paper sheet to the emperor, in the year of 105 d.C.

Tsai Lun produced paper by disintegrating vegetal fibres and rags with a wood packet. In order to create a paper sheet, he used a tin made of bamboo united with a silk straw. As an additive, he used an agar extract, seaweed. Possibly, vegetal fibres used by Tsai Lun came from mulberry trees.

Paper is made of which materials?

For paper production, the essential raw material is cellulose fibre that is obtained from the wood of fast growing trees (especially eucalyptus and pine). This fibre, when used for the first time, has the name of virgin fibre and, when recovered through recycling to be used again as a raw material for paper production, it is called recovered fibre. The truth is that it is always the same fibre in different moments of its life cycle.

What are the environmental advantages of paper?

Paper is a natural product. Cellulose fibre, with which paper is produced, comes from wood, a natural and renewable raw material. Paper has another great environmental advantage; it is 100% recyclable and biodegrade.

Paper is also CO2 storage. Plantations where pines and eucalyptus are planted to produce paper are great carbon sinks. This CO2 remains in the paper products. This way, paper industry contributes to climate change mitigation.

What are the advantages of cardboard and paper packages ?

In the first place, it is a natural and easily recyclable product. The cardboard and paper packages are the natural answer to the needs of trade and distribution of all kinds of goods.

Paper packages are more versatile. Cardboard boxes, paper bags, corrugator paperboard boxes, paperboard pallets, displays and trays…protects the product and makes the transport and storage easier.

Thanks to its printing quality, paper and cardboard packages are an excellent support for the brands identity. It individualized and grouped the sale units and is the ideal way to offer the consumer the information about the product characteristics.

It is a strong package that can be used to protect from the most delicate porcelain until big household appliances. It is light and foldable which allows you to save money in the transport.

What is the origin of wood, from which you get the cellulose for paper production?

The wood, with which originates cellulose for paper production comes from fast growing trees that are planted and cultivated for this end. Far from contributing for the forest decreasing, on contrary the paper industry contributes a great deal for its increasing, through these plantations that are in permanent regeneration and replantation.

Is the paper industry sustainable?

The paper industry is one of the best positioned sectors in the compliance of the sustainable development criteria: renewable raw material, recyclable products and sophisticated processes of production in constant evolution, seeking the technologies with most environmental concerns.

The paper industry represents a great potential in the climate change mitigation; the raw material – the wood – retains the carbon; products that store the CO2; a long way for the energetic efficiency optimization (cogeneration; biofuel…), and the recycling high rates, that allows a reduced carbon footprint.

Some sector data about the environment are clear about the industry work in the last years in order to move forward in a sustainable development way. (Please consult BE).

What does Carbon Sink means, applied to forest, wood and paper?

Trees absorb from the atmosphere sun light, water and CO2, for their own food and growth.

Plantations of fast growing trees (eucalyptus, pine trees, etc…) are great carbon sinks, due to this characteristic (the fast growing), and help reduce the climate changes. Recent studies show that forests, once reached its maturity, stop fixing the carbon. Therefore, productive plantations are an environmental opportunity.

Making paper destroys forests?

Paper is made from cellulose, both comes from wood. Wood comes from fast growing trees. These trees are planted with this goal. This way, cellulose and paper industry helps the increase of forests through these plantations where the regeneration and replantation is continuous.

Plantations of fast growing species are usually located in vacant lots caused by the desertification of agricultural and livestock practices.

What is forest certification?

People are getting more worried with the environment and the sustainable use of natural resource, therefore, the origin of wood products is demanded to be environmental sustainable and with a reasoned certification.

Forest certification is a voluntary process where an independent third party guarantees a sustainable management of a certain forest area and, consequently, its wood for the industry (chain of custody).

The certification promotes the sustainable management as a future guarantee for our forests. It’s good also for the rural development, population settling in more deprived areas. The wood and derived products are valorised and give products to the consumers that are assured and environmental friendly

It is better to buy recycled paper or paper produced with virgin fibre?

Usually, this is a question about office paper: sheets, written and impression whose common format (A4) is paper. Although, many times, people don’t remember that are several kinds of paper used in the everyday life, produced with recuperated paper, such as impression paper and package paper.

Answering to the questions, is necessary to say that, in most of Europe, office papers are produced basically of virgin cellulose in order to get the necessary characteristics to the white, impression, machine behaviour, etc. It is not previewed that its production has a bigger environmental impact, since in every case the mills are submitted to very demanding requisites and controls in order to execute their activity and to guarantee the respect for the environment. From the environmental point of view, what matters is to separate the paper, after being used, so it can be used again.

Recycling, how and for what?

Paper is 100% recyclable. The paper used is a raw material than can be used again to produce new paper.

The collection of used paper is made through a few channels: Municipal channels – where the collection is a municipality competence where the paper is taken from private houses, commerce, hotels and offices – and the industrial channels – the collection is made through a logistic and economic circuit organized by the private sector that will be focused on supermarkets, big surfaces and industries.

Is essential to collect paper and carton board separated from the other materials, to avoid contamination.

For this purpose, we have blue ecoponto (destined to collect paper from private homes) that allow the industry to guarantee that all the paper and carton board deposited here, is recycled.

The paper and carton board used and deposited by citizens in the blue ecoponto, is collected by a truck crane and takes it to a recovery warehouse of paper and carton board. The recovery classifies it by type and then, packs and stores it. The paper producer buys the paper bales to the recovery. This way, the ecoponto waste is converted in raw material that the paper industry uses to produce newspapers, boxes, books, etc.

How paper used can be recovered for recycling in the work places?

In order to recycle, paper must be collected separately from the other waste. The usual is to put carton board containers in places where paper are more use, like, next to photocopying machines. If is a big company, to make the collection easier, it is usual to empty this containers in big bags and put them in the buildings unloading containers like the parking lots.

For the collect itself, it is necessary to hire a paper and carton board collector services. The price the collector will charge will depend on the amount produced and the collect accessibility. The cost will be lower as the collect gets easier if the amount of paper is bigger. It is possible to contact a collector through the National Association of Paper and Card Recovery and Recycling (RECIPAC).

Does recycling growing have some kind of limits?

It is always necessary to include a certain amount of virgin fibre in the paper cycle.

It is calculated that 19% of paper we use is not possible to recycle due to several causes. Sometimes we simply keep it, like books, documents, photos that we keep at home, in archives or libraries. Other times, due to its use, it goes on deteriorating and destroying, such as toilet paper.