We are REALLY excited to talk paper vs. plastic!
We love packaging!
Paper vs. Plastic
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Paper feedstock
• The primary raw materials used for paperboard
production include wood chips, residual material
from softwood dimensional lumber production,
and recovered paper or paperboard products.
• Additional inputs include chemicals for cooking
liquors, additives such as starch and aluminum
sulfate, sizing agents such as natural resins or
synthetic sizing, and pigments and latex used for
coatings (StoraEnso 2008).
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Pulp Conversion
• First, the wood is broken down into cellulose
fibers by chemically dissolving the lignin that
binds the wood fibers together (chemical
pulping).
• After which, the slue is bleached, which serves to
remove additional lignin from the fiber and
lightens the pulp.
• Common bleaching chemicals include chlorine
dioxide and to alesser degree oxygen, ozone,
hydrogen peroxide and enzymes such as
xylanase.
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Paper Making
• The papermaking process begins at the wet end of the
papermaking machine where a layer of furnish
consisting of about 99% water and 1% pulped fiber is
dispersed evenly onto a continuously moving wire
screen.
• As the furnish moves through the process more and
more water is removed and the paper is formed as it
moves through a series of rollers.
• Once the fiber mat is established on the screen, the
remainder of the process smoothes the paper through
calendaring and removes water using vacuums and
presses, followed by final drying.
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Environmental Considerations
• Pulp and papermaking requires large inputs of
water, energy, chemicals, and wood resources,
and produces various wastes and emissions that
must be controlled or treated (U.S. DOE 2005).
• Impacts on the environment can come from toxic
and hazardous chemicals in air and water
emissions, thermal and wastewater loading to
natural waterways, odor–causing chemicals, air
pollutants from combustion, and solid wastes
(U.S. DOE 2005).
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Monomer Production Process
• Both natural gas and petroleum are extracted
from the earth for the production of plastic.
• After extraction, these materials are transported
to a gas processing plant or oil refinery where
they are mixed with naphtha prior to the steam
cracking process.
• The extreme heat used in the process reduces or
‘cracks’ the molecule size of the natural gas or oil,
forming lighter and more reactive hydrocarbons
like ethylene and other monomers such as
propylene.
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Polymer Production Process, Ex: PP
• PP is typically formed in either liquid or gas phase
propylene reactions.
• Liquid propylene polymerization is carried out at
pressure of about 365-510 psi and a temperature of
140-175 F. The process requires a reactor for the
propylene monomer, hydrogen, and catalyst.
• As the propylene monomer flows through the reactor,
about 50% of it reacts and becomes polypropylene
polymer.
• The unreacted propylene is recycled back to the
reactor. The polypropylene polymer is fed into a
pelletizer to form pellets.
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Environmental Considerations
• Oil and natural gas are the primary sources of
energy for resin production; however, 10-15% of
energy required for resin production is
embedded in the polymer available for later
recovery.
• Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are
the major greenhouse gases emitted during resin
production; however, over 75% of C02 emissions
are related to fossil fuel use (Franklin 2007).
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Energy Required for Production of Common Packaging Polymers and Fiber-Based Packaging
Materials (Franklin Associates, a Division of ERG, 2007 & U.S. DOE, 2005)
16
Million Btu per 1,000 lbs of material produced
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
HDPE
LDPE
LLDPE
PP
PET
GPPS
HIPS
PVC
ABS
Fiber-Based
Packaging
Materials
Material Type
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Overall Emissions/Waste Generated in Polymer Production
(Franklin 2007. Brown and Cole 1993, APME 2005/6 & NAPCOR 2006)
Lbs of waste generated per 1,000 lbs of resin produced
3000
2500
2000
Air Emissions
1500
Water Discharges
Solid Waste
1000
500
0
PET
HDPE
PVC
LDPE
PP
PS
PLA
Polymer Type
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TRI Data: Pulp and Paper Production Air Emissions and Surface Water Discharges
(U.S. EPA 1996)
100,000,000
Lbs of Emissions/Discharges
90,000,000
80,000,000
70,000,000
60,000,000
Total Air Emissions
50,000,000
Surface Water Discharges
40,000,000
30,000,000
20,000,000
10,000,000
0
Industry
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Container and Packaging MSW Data, 2007 (U.S. EPA 2008)
Aluminum
2%
St eel
3%
Wood
11%
Paper & Paperboard
Plast ic
Glass
15%
Paper & Paperboard
52%
Glass
Wood
St eel
Aluminum
Plast ic
17%
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Container and Packaging % Recovery,
(US EPA 2008)
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Paper vs. Plastic COMPASS LCA
CS-002 plastic: 36.854 g of Polyethylene CS-002 corrugated: 96.544 g of Corrugated
Terephthalate (PET) converted using
converted using Production of Corrugated
Thermoforming with Calendering
Container
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High-five to you!!!
For taking the time to learn about paper and plastic!