Paper plays a key role in our daily lives, but how is it made?
Although the basic processes of papermaking have remained unchanged for centuries, paper, once made by hand in individual sheets, is now made on enormous papermaking machines, four times the length of a cricket pitch.
In one week, a single machine can produce enough paper to stretch from London to New York! Some paper is still made by hand and the skills of papermaking have been handed down from generation to generation.
How is paper made?
Follow the papermaking journey
This diagram details the papermaking process and illustrates the extensive use of recovered paper. New pulp, however, is an integral part of the papermaking process: recovered paper cannot be recycled indefinitely because the fibres lose their papermaking qualities.
Click on the labels to find out more about each stage of the papermaking process.
Paper manufacturing in the UK
The UK has 47 paper mills, with operations spread throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These mills will produce around four million tonnes of product this year with almost a million tonnes exported, either directly or as packaging around UK manufactured goods – however, the UK consumes around 10 million tonnes of paper each year. With less than a third of paper used in the UK made in the UK, this results in a massive and growing balance of payments deficit. Indeed, the UK now imports more paper than any other country in the world.
We all use a form of tissue or hygiene paper every day. It could be in the form of kitchen roll, tissues, facial wipes – or to name the obvious; just imagine where we’d be without toilet paper!
The prime purpose of corrugated packaging is to protect goods in transit, storage and distribution, thus preventing waste through breakage, spoilage and contamination.