Pulp and paper industry

Last updated
International Paper is the world's largest pulp and paper maker. InternationalPaper6413.jpg
International Paper is the world's largest pulp and paper maker.
Paper mill Mondi in Ruzomberok, Slovakia. Mondi SCP.jpg
Paper mill Mondi in Ružomberok, Slovakia.

The pulp and paper industry comprises companies that use wood as raw material and produce pulp, paper, paperboard and other cellulose-based products.


Diagram showing the sections of the Fourdrinier machine. Fourdrinier.svg
Diagram showing the sections of the Fourdrinier machine.

The pulp is fed to a paper machine where it is formed as a paper web and the water is removed from it by pressing and drying.

Pressing the sheet removes the water by force. Once the water is forced from the sheet, a special kind of felt, which is not to be confused with the traditional one, is used to collect the water. Whereas, when making paper by hand, a blotter sheet is used instead.

Drying involves using air or heat to remove water from the paper sheets. In the earliest days of paper making, this was done by hanging the sheets like laundry. In more modern times, various forms of heated drying mechanisms are used. On the paper machine, the most common is the steam heated can dryer.


History of the paper industry

The commercial planting of domesticated mulberry trees to make pulp for papermaking is attested as early as the 6th century. [1] Due to advances in printing technology, the Chinese paper industry continued to grow under the Song dynasty to meet the rising demand for printed books. Demand for paper was also stimulated by the Song government, which needed a large supply of paper for printing paper money and exchange certificates. [2] The first mechanised paper machine was installed at Frogmore Paper Mill, Apsley, Hertfordshire in 1803, followed by another in 1804. [3] The site operates currently as a museum. [4] .

Environmental effects

The pulp and paper industry has been criticized by environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council for unsustainable deforestation and clearcutting of old-growth forest. [5] The industry trend is to expand globally to countries like Russia, China and Indonesia with low wages and low environmental oversight. [6] According to Greenpeace, farmers in Central America illegally rip up vast tracts of native forest for cattle and soybean production without any consequences, [7] and companies who buy timber from private land owners contribute to massive deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. [8] On the other hand, the situation is quite different where forest growth has been on the increase for a number of years. It is estimated for instance that since 1990 forests have grown in Europe by a size equivalent to that of Switzerland (44,160 KM) which has been supported through the practice of sustainable forest management by the industry. In Sweden, for every tree that is felled, two are planted. [9]

The pulp and paper industry consumes a significative amount of water and energy and produces wastewater with a high concentration of COD;  recent studies underline as an appropriate pre-treatment of the wastewater (e.g. the coagulation) is cost-effective solution for the removal of COD and the reduction of the pressures on the aquatic environment [10] .

Current production volumes and sales

The industry is dominated by North American (United States and Canada), northern European (Finland, Sweden, and North-West Russia) and East Asian countries (such as East Siberian Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea). Australasia and Brazil also have significant pulp and paper enterprises. The industry also has a significant presence in a number of European countries including Germany, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. The United States had been the world's leading producer of paper until it was overtaken by China in 2009. [11]

List of main countries by production quantity

According to statistic data by RISI, main producing countries of paper and paperboard, not including pulp, in the world are as follows: [12]

CountryProduction in 2011
(1,000 ton)
Production in 2010
(1,000 ton)
1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 99,30024.9%192,599
2Flag of the United States.svg  United States 75,08318.8%275,849
3Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 26,6276.7%327,288
4Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 22,6985.7%423,122
5Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 12,1123.0%512,787
6Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 11,4922.9%811,120
7Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 11,3292.8%611,789
8Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 11,2982.8%711,410
9Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 10,1592.5%109,796
10Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 10,0352.5%99,951
 World Total398,975100.0% 394,244

List of main company groups by production quantity

The world's main paper and paperboard company groups are as follows. (Some figures are estimates.): [13]

RankCompany GroupCountryProduction in 2015
(1,000 ton)
Rank by Sales
1 International Paper Flag of the United States.svg  United States 233151
2 Nine Dragon Paper Holdings Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 1263018
3 WestRock Flag of the United States.svg  United States 124874
4 UPM Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 97715
5 Stora Enso Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 91888
6 Oji Paper Company Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 91153
7 Sappi Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 730615
8 Smurfit Kappa Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 70009
9 DS Smith Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 680213
10 Nippon Paper Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 654211

List by net sales

In 2008, the top 10 forest, paper and packaging products companies were, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers: [14]

RankCompanyCountry2008 Net Sales
2008 Net Income (Loss)
1 International Paper Flag of the United States.svg  United States 24,829(1,282)
2 Kimberly-Clark Flag of the United States.svg  United States 19,4151,690
3 SCA Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 16,965 (SEK)857
4 Stora Enso Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 16,227(991)
5 UPM Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 13,920(263)
6 Oji Paper Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 12,788114
7 Nippon Unipac Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 11,75355
8 Smurfit Kappa Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 10,390(73)
9 Metsä Group Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 9,335(313)
10 Mondi Group Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  UK/Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 9,466(310)

Manufacturers and suppliers for the industry

Pulp & Paper Building, in Japan. It hosts many organizations in the pulp and paper industry Zhi parupuHui Guan Japan Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry.jpg
Pulp & Paper Building, in Japan. It hosts many organizations in the pulp and paper industry

Leading manufacturers of capital equipment with over $1 billion in annual revenue for the pulp and paper industry include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Cai Lun Chinese eunuch and political official

Cai Lun, courtesy name Jingzhong (敬仲), was a Chinese eunuch, inventor, and politician of the Han dynasty. He is traditionally regarded as the inventor of paper and the papermaking process, in forms recognizable in modern times as paper. Although early forms of paper had existed in China since the 2nd century BCE, he was responsible for the first significant improvement and standardization of papermaking by adding essential new materials into its composition.

Papermaking economic sector

The art, science, and technology of papermaking addresses the methods, equipment, and materials used to make paper and cardboard, these being used widely for printing, writing, and packaging, among many other purposes and useful products. Today almost all paper is manufactured using industrial machinery, while handmade paper survives as a specialized craft and a medium for artistic expression.

Pulp (paper) fibrous material used notably in papermaking

Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fiber crops, waste paper, or rags. Many kinds of paper are made from wood with nothing else mixed into them. This includes newspapers, magazines and even toilet paper. Pulp is one of the most abundant raw materials.

The pulp and paper industry in Europe accounts for about a quarter of world production and is a major employer. The leading producing countries are Finland, Sweden and Germany. The industry is a large user of renewable energy and achieved a recycling rate of 71.5% in 2015.

Paper mill factory that produces paper

A paper mill is a factory devoted to making paper from vegetable fibres such as wood pulp, old rags and other ingredients. Prior to the invention and adoption of the Fourdrinier machine and other types of paper machine that use an endless belt, all paper in a paper mill was made by hand, one sheet at a time, by specialized laborers.

Paperboard thick paper-based material

Paperboard is a thick paper-based material. While there is no rigid differentiation between paper and paperboard, paperboard is generally thicker than paper and has certain superior attributes such as foldability and rigidity. According to ISO standards, paperboard is a paper with a grammage above 250 g/m2, but there are exceptions. Paperboard can be single- or multi-ply.

Paper machine machine used to manufacture paper products

A paper machine is an industrial machine which is used in the pulp and paper industry to create paper in large quantities at high speed. Modern paper-making machines are based on the principles of the Fourdrinier Machine, which uses a moving woven mesh to create a continuous paper web by filtering out the fibres held in a paper stock and producing a continuously moving wet mat of fibre. This is dried in the machine to produce a strong paper web.

Paper recycling process by which waste paper is turned into new paper products

The recycling of paper is the process by which waste paper is turned into new paper products. It has a number of important benefits: It saves waste paper from occupying homes of people and producing methane as it breaks down. Because paper fibre contains carbon, recycling keeps the carbon locked up for longer and out of the atmosphere. Around two thirds of all paper products in the US are now recovered and recycled, although it does not all become new paper. After repeated processing the fibres become too short for the production of new paper - this is why virgin fibre will be added to the pulp recipe.

Coated paper is paper which has been coated by a mixture of materials or a polymer to impart certain qualities to the paper, including weight, surface gloss, smoothness or reduced ink absorbency. Various materials, including Kaolinite, calcium carbonate, Bentonite, and talc can be used to coat paper for high quality printing used in packaging industry and in magazines. The chalk or china clay is bound to the paper with synthetic viscosifiers, such as styrene-butadiene latexes and natural organic binders such as starch. The coating formulation may also contain chemical additives as dispersants, resins, or polyethylene to give water resistance and wet strength to the paper, or to protect against ultraviolet radiation.

Printing in East Asia evolved from ink rubbings made on paper or cloth from texts on stone tables in China during the Han dynasty. Mechanical woodblock printing on paper started in China during the Tang dynasty before the 8th century CE. The use of woodblock printing quickly spread to other East Asian countries. While the Chinese used only clay and wood movable type at first, use of metal movable type was pioneered in Korea by the 13th century. The Western-style printing press became known in East Asia by the 16th century but was not fully adopted until centuries later.

Gift wrapping material used to wrap gifts

Gift wrapping is the act of enclosing a gift in some sort of material. Wrapping paper is a kind of paper designed for gift wrapping. An alternative to gift wrapping is using a gift box or bag. A wrapped or boxed gift may be held closed with ribbon and topped with a decorative bow.

Paper thin, flexible material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging

Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. It is a versatile material with many uses, including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning, decorating, and a number of industrial and construction processes. Papers are essential in legal or non-legal documentation.

Chenming Paper

Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings Limited, or known as Chenming Paper or Chenming Group, is engaged in the manufacture and sales of paper pulp, papermaking and power generation. It offers art paper, lightweight-coated paper, newspaper paper, paperboard paper, duplex press paper, white paperboard paper and writing paper. It is the largest papermaking enterprise in China. Based in Shouguang, Shandong, China, Chenming Paper is ranked among the top 50 paper producers worldwide by PWC. It is currently the largest paper producer in China by volumes sold. Chenming has approximately 15700 employees from 8 paper mills located at different provinces of China.

Deinking is the industrial process of removing printing ink from paperfibers of recycled paper to make deinked pulp.

Oji Paper Company company

Oji Holdings Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of paper products. In 2012 the company was the third largest company in the global forest, paper and packaging industry. The company's stock is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the stock is constituent of the Nikkei 225 stock index.

History of paper History of paper

Paper is a thin nonwoven material traditionally made from a combination of milled plant and textile fibres. It is primarily used for writing, artwork, and packaging; it is commonly white. The first papermaking process was documented in China during the Eastern Han period, traditionally attributed to the court official Cai Lun. During the 8th century, Chinese papermaking spread to the Islamic world, where pulp mills and paper mills were used for papermaking and money making. By the 11th century, papermaking was brought to Europe. By the 13th century, papermaking was refined with paper mills utilizing waterwheels in Spain. Later European improvements to the papermaking process came in the 19th century with the invention of wood-based papers.

Environmental impact of paper overview about the environmental impact of paper

The environmental impact of paper is significant, which has led to changes in industry and behaviour at both business and personal levels. With the use of modern technology such as the printing press and the highly mechanized harvesting of wood, disposable paper became a relatively cheap commodity, which led to a high level of consumption and waste. The rise in global environmental issues such as air and water pollution, climate change, overflowing landfills and clearcutting have all lead to increased government regulations. There is now a trend towards sustainability in the pulp and paper industry as it moves to reduce clear cutting, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption and clean up its impacts on local water supplies and air pollution.

Nippon Paper Industries paper manufacturer

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. is a Japanese paper manufacturing company. The company's stock is listed on the Tokyo and Nagoya Stock Exchange and on the Osaka Securities Exchange. The stock is also constituent of the Nikkei 225 stock index.

Official Board Markets was a weekly trade publication for independent and integrated paperboard converters and mills, packaging buyers, paper recyclers, packaging end-users, and paper brokers.

Tsien Tsuen-hsuin, also known as T.H. Tsien, was a Chinese sinologist and librarian who served as a professor of Chinese literature and library science at the University of Chicago, and was also curator of its East Asian Library from 1949 to 1978. He is known for studies of the history of the Chinese book, Chinese bibliography, paleography, and science and technology, especially the history of paper and printing in China, notably Paper and Printing, Volume 5 Pt 1 of Joseph Needham's Science and Civilisation in China. He is also known for risking his life to smuggle tens of thousands of rare books outside of Japanese-occupied China during World War II.


  1. Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin (1985), Paper and Printing, Science and Civilisation in China: Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Vol. 5 Part 1, Cambridge University Press, p. 58
  2. Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin (1985), Paper and Printing, Science and Civilisation in China: Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Vol. 5 Part 1, Cambridge University Press, p. 48
  3. Hills, Richard, "Papermaking in Britain 1488–1988", Athlone Press, 1988.
  4. "The Paper Trail at Frogmore Mill". Apsley Paper Trail charity. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  5. "NRDC: Paper Industry Laying Waste to North American Forests". www.nrdc.org. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  6. "A crumpling paper industry". Oregon Local News. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  7. "Amazon draught speeds up destruction The WE News Archives". www.thewe.cc. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  8. Phillips, Tom (20 May 2011). "Brazil forms 'crisis cabinet' following unexpected deforestation surge". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  9. "Will the EU turn the tide on forest growth and torpedo its bioeconomy agenda?". euractiv.com.
  10. Boguniewicz-Zablocka, Joanna; Klosok-Bazan, Iwona; Naddeo, Vincenzo; Mozejko, Clara A. (2019-09-26). "Cost-effective removal of COD in the pre-treatment of wastewater from the paper industry". Water Science and Technology: wst2019328. doi:10.2166/wst.2019.328. ISSN   0273-1223.
  11. De Sisti, Mike (12 December 2012). "China's Paper Operation". Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  12. "Japan in the World (according to the figure in Annual Review of Global Pulp and Paper Statistics by RISI)" (in Japanese). Japan Paper Association. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  13. "The PPI Top 100". RISI. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  14. "Global Forest, Paper & Packaging Industry Survey: 2009 Edition - Survey of 2008 Results" (pdf). PricewaterhouseCoopers. p. 12. Retrieved 24 February 2011.