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Environmental impact of paper

Continuing Toxic Pollution

❶The Toxic Legacy of Federal Neglect.

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According to the U. The EPA further estimates that on average, additional pounds are flushed from the Fox River sediment each year.

CWAC has pushed for removal over simply capping because floods could flush additional thousands of pounds into Green Bay. Of the 11 million tons of sediment thought to be contaminated, two million cubic yards have been dredged through On May , U. District Judge Griesbach issued a significant ruling finding that the government can require any of the seven companies to do all of the remaining work or any portions of that work. Dredging continued in with a goal to remove at least , cubic yards.

Capping, which began in , was also expected to continue. The paper industry is a major source of toxic chemical pollution in Wisconsin. The federal and state Toxic Release Inventories shows releases of approximately 14 million pounds of known toxic substances in Modest reductions in chemical use over the years per unit of production seem to be countered by increased production.

Many toxic chemicals are used in paper making, especially toxic solvents and chlorine compounds used to bleach and delignify pulp. Additional toxins are used as biocides to prevent bacterial growth in the pulp and finished paper products. In the past, toxic mercury compounds were used as biocides, contributing to Wisconsin's mercury contamination problems in fish. Pulp and paper mills are large sources of standard air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxides and particulates.

These contribute to ozone warnings, acid rain, global warming and respiratory problems. Many of the mills are large enough to have their own coal-fired power plants, raising additional concerns about mercury, arsenic and radioactive emissions.

Paper making is energy intensive, drawing larges amount of electricity from public utilities, or forcing mills to build their own power plants. This is a signficant contributor to the air pollution in our region, and to the hidden damages due to fuel extraction at the source oil drilling, oil spills, coal mining, pipelines, transmission lines, etc. Paper-making is energy intensive, drawing a large amount of electricity from public utilities, or forcing mills to build their own power plants.

This is a significant contributor to the air pollution in our region, and to the hidden damages due to fuel extraction at the source oil drilling, oil spills, coal mining, pipelines, transmission lines, etc. Paper-making generally produces a large amount of solid waste. Because we have so many paper recycling industries in our area, an even larger quantity of waste is generated.

Paper fibers can be recycled only a limited number of times before they become too short or weak to make high quality paper.

This means the broken, low-quality fibers are separated out to become waste sludge. All the inks, dyes, coatings, pigments, staples and "stickies" tape, plastic films, etc.

The shiny finish on glossy magazine-type paper is produced using a fine kaolin clay coating, which also becomes solid waste during recycling. Pulp and paper generates the third largest amount of industrial air, water, and land emissions in Canada and the sixth largest in the United States. Worldwide, the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy, accounting for four percent of all the world's energy use.

The pulp and paper industry uses more water to produce a ton of product than any other industry. The de-inking process during paper recycling is also a source of emissions due to chemicals released in the effluent. Plantation forests , from where the majority of wood for pulping is obtained, is generally a monoculture and this raises concerns over the ecological effects of the practice.

Much of the wood harvested in North America goes into lumber and other non-paper products. Deforestation is often seen as a problem in developing countries but also occurs in the developed world. Woodchipping to produce paper pulp is a contentious environmental issue in Australia.

The National Emissions Inventory in the U. Several PBTs are emitted by the pulp and paper industry at measurable levels, including lead, hexachlorobenzene HCB , dioxins, furans and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. There are other important releases to air by the pulp and paper industry. Fine particulate matter PM 2. The pulp and paper industry in the U. NOx and SOx are major contributors of acid rain and CO 2 is a greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

In , the pulp and paper industry in North America was responsible for about 0. Wastewater discharges for a pulp and paper mill contains solids, nutrients and dissolved organic matter such as lignin. It also contains alcohols , and chelating agents and inorganic materials like chlorates and transition metal compounds. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can cause or exacerbate eutrophication of fresh water bodies such as lakes and rivers.

Organic matter dissolved in fresh water, measured by biological oxygen demand BOD , changes ecological characteristics. Wastewater may also be polluted with organochlorine compounds. Some of these are naturally occurring in the wood, but chlorine bleaching of the pulp produces far larger amounts. The pulp and paper industry is also associated with important emissions of heavy metals. In Canada, for example, this industry is the third source of lead Pb emissions to water [27] In the U.

Levels of discharge have not changed significantly since that time. Recycling the effluent see black liquor and burning it, using bioremediation ponds and employing less damaging agents in the pulping and bleaching processes can help reduce water pollution.

Discharges can also discolour the water leading to reduced aesthetics. This has happened with the Tarawera River in New Zealand which subsequently became known as the "black drain". Paper recycling mitigates this impact, but not the environmental and economic impact of the energy consumed by manufacturing, transporting and burying and or reprocessing paper products.

Chlorine and compounds of chlorine are used in the bleaching of wood pulp , especially chemical pulps produced by the kraft process or sulfite process. In the past, plants using elemental chlorine produced significant quantities of dioxin s [31] , persistent and very toxic organic pollutants. As a result, dioxin production was also significantly reduced. Environmental Protection Agency EPA data concluded that "Studies of effluents from mills that use oxygen delignification and extended delignification to produce ECF elemental chlorine free and TCF pulps suggest that the environmental effects of these processes are low and similar.

TCF bleaching, by removing chlorine from the process, reduces chlorinated organic compounds to background levels in pulp mill effluent. On the one hand, paper and chemical industry-funded studies have generally found that there is no environmental difference between ECF and TCF effluents.

Sulfur -based compounds are used in both the kraft process and the sulfite process for making wood pulp. Sulfur is generally recovered, with the exception of ammonia-based sulfite processes, but some is released as sulfur dioxide during combustion of black liquor , a byproduct of the kraft process, or "red liquor" from the sulfite process. Sulfur dioxide is of particular concern because it is water-soluble and is a major cause of acid rain. A modern kraft pulp mill is more than self-sufficient in its electrical generation and normally will provide a net flow of energy to the local electrical grid.

Air emissions of hydrogen sulfide , methyl mercaptan , dimethyl sulfide , dimethyl disulfide , and other volatile sulfur compounds are the cause of the odor characteristic of pulp mills utilizing the kraft process. Other chemicals that are released into the air and water from most paper mills include the following: Bleaching mechanical pulp is not a major cause for environmental concern since most of the organic material is retained in the pulp, and the chemicals used hydrogen peroxide and sodium dithionite produce benign byproducts water and, eventually, sodium sulfate , respectively.

However, the bleaching of chemical pulps has the potential to cause significant environmental damage, primarily through the release of organic materials into waterways. Pulp mills are almost always located near large bodies of water because they require substantial quantities of water for their processes. An increased public awareness of environmental issues from the s and s, as evidenced by the formation of organizations like Greenpeace , influenced the pulping industry and governments to address the release of these materials into the environment.

Conventional bleaching using elemental chlorine produces and releases into the environment large amounts of chlorinated organic compounds , including chlorinated dioxins. Dioxins are highly toxic, and health effects on humans include reproductive, developmental, immune and hormonal problems. They are known to be carcinogenic.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the pulp and paper industry are generated from the combustion of fossil fuels required for raw material production and transportation, wastewater treatment facilities, purchased power, paper transportation, printed product transportation, disposal and recycling. Disposing of paper in landfill sites, and subsequent breakdown and production of methane a potent greenhouse gas also adds to the carbon footprint of paper products.

This is another reason why paper recycling is beneficial for the environment. At pulp and paper mills in the U. Clay or calcium carbonate are used as fillers for some papers. Kaolin is the most commonly used clay for coated papers. Some of the environmental impacts of the pulp and paper industry have been addressed and there is movement towards sustainable practices. Using wood from plantation forests addresses concerns about loss of old growth forests.

Cutting down trees to make forest products such as pulp and paper creates temporary or long-term environmental disturbances in forest habitats depending on how carefully the harvest is carried out. There might be impacts on plant and animal biodiversity, soil fertility and water quality.

However, sustainable forest management practices are a way of using and caring for forests so as to maintain their environmental, social and economic values and benefits over time. In Canada, sustainable forest management is supported by a forest management planning process; a science-based approach to decision-making, assessment and planning as well as by regulations and policies. Promoting and supporting forest certification and the ability to trace the origin of wood fiber helps ensure sustainable forest management and legal logging.

The forest certification systems that are currently the most used are:. The move to non-elemental chlorine for the bleaching process reduced the emission of the carcinogenic organochlorines.

Peracetic acid , ozone [59] and hydrogen peroxide and oxygen are used in bleaching sequences in the pulp industry to produce totally chlorine free TCF paper. There are three categories of paper that can be used as feedstocks for making recycled paper: Pre-consumer waste is material that was discarded before it was ready for consumer use. Post-consumer waste is material discarded after consumer use such as old magazines, old telephone directories, and residential mixed paper. One concern about recycling wood pulp paper is that the fibers are degraded with each and after being recycled four or five times the fibers become too short and weak to be useful in making paper.

Recycling paper decreases the demand for virgin pulp and thus reduces the overall amount of air and water pollution associated with paper manufacture. Recycled pulp can be bleached with the same chemicals used to bleach virgin pulp, but hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydrosulfite are the most common bleaching agents.

Recycled pulp, or paper made from it, is known as PCF process chlorine free if no chlorine-containing compounds were used in the recycling process. Recycling as an alternative to the use of landfills and recycled paper is one of the less complicated procedures in the recycling industry. Virgin paper contains no recycled content and is made directly from the pulp of trees or cotton.

Materials recovered after the initial paper manufacturing process are considered recycled paper. The collection and recycling industries have fixated on the scraps of paper that is thrown away by customers daily in order to increase the amount of recycled paper. This type of mill detaches the ink from the paper fibers, along with any other excess materials which are also removed from the remaining paper. In the deinking mill, after all of the unwanted coatings of paper are stripped, the refurbished paper is sent to the paper machine.

The old scraps are now constructed into new paper at the paper machine. Many papers mills have recycled business papers by transforming the old business papers into beneficial letters and envelopes. The production process for recycled paper is more costly than the well-developed paper mills that create paper with the use of trees. This process in making recycled paper is also much more time-consuming.

However, recycled paper has a multitude of benefits from an environmental perspective. Pulp and paper is a heavily regulated industry in North America. EPA first issued national wastewater standards, known as effluent guidelines , for pulp and paper mills in , pursuant to the Clean Water Act.

The agency established numeric limitations for several conventional pollutants.


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Air and Water Pollution Air and Water Pollution Paper Air and water pollution is a big deal in our environment. The two types of air pollution that I have decided to . Issues. Pulp and paper mills contribute to air, water and land pollution and discarded paper and paperboard make up roughly 26% of solid municipal solid waste in landfill sites.. Pulp and paper generates the third largest amount of industrial air, water, and land emissions in Canada and the sixth largest in the United States.