Paper making is one of the major industrial sources of carbon emissions in the developed world. It uses significant amounts of gas and oil to produce paper. Trees cover thirty-six percent of Earth’s land area and occupy about 31 percent of that area in 1990. In 2016, we have lost 73.4 million acres of forests. This is an increase of over 51 percent from the year before. As you can see in the graph above, we are destroying trees at a rapid pace.
If you’re wondering how books are made, you should know that trees have a long history of producing paper. In fact, it’s estimated that a tree can yield ten thousand books, or about 30 million copies. But you may not realize that only about one-fourth of a tree is actually used for paper production. Fortunately, the pulp from paper recycling makes up the rest of the pulp used for books.
The main reason trees are used for paper is the fiber they produce. Most paper is made from fast-growing conifers. But other materials are also used in paper production. Bamboo, cotton, hemp, and jute are all good options for paper pulp. Some paper is also made using china clay, which gives it a glossy finish.
Trees are used to make paper, such as book paper. But not all trees are suitable for papermaking. For example, the white cedar tree produces less fiber than other trees, and its wood is also less dense. Other trees are better for making paper, though, such as the hickory tree, which is native to the eastern U.S. Although this tree is not a traditional choice for paper, it does produce an excellent quality product.
Paper manufacturing is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, especially in developed countries. The paper industry consumes significant amounts of oil and gas for its production. And the loss of forests is not a small problem. Trees cover around 30 percent of the Earth’s land, down from 31 percent in 1990. But the rate of deforestation has been increasing steadily in recent years. From 2015 to 2016, forests lost an estimated 73.4 million acres.
The process of making paper pulp involves breaking down several plant materials and then transforming them into paper. Plants such as cotton, flax, and wood contain cellulose, a long molecule composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It gives plant cells their structure and makes paper strong and flexible. Paper that has a high cellulose content is needed for a book to function properly.
The papermaking process begins in large paper mills. During this step, raw plant material is placed in large vessels and beaten to pulp. The pulp is then transformed into sheets, which are then rolled, folded, glued, stapled, or stitched. Paper is produced with a machine called a fourdinier, which uses whistling wheels to turn wood pulp into paper.
Paper used in e-books
While most paper used in e-books is made from trees, the process for producing them is not completely eco-friendly. Trees are cut down for many different reasons, and the paper used in books is generally made from trees that are not intended to be used for other purposes. In fact, most of the paper used in books comes from trees that have been grown in a tree farm. These trees are usually fast-growing and replenishable, which makes them cheaper to log and implement in an industrial setting. However, these tree farms also eat up a great deal of space and negatively affect local ecosystems. In addition, they are often found in areas that once held true rainforests. This is why it is so important to use paper produced from trees that is made from renewable resources.
While the carbon footprint of paper books is often touted as being low, studies vary. The conclusions are based on different assumptions and data, and the number of books printed and sold each year is not the same in all countries. Moreover, different studies use different sample sizes and printing processes. Therefore, they may arrive at contradictory conclusions. Nevertheless, it’s clear that paper books do not have a lower carbon footprint than e-books.
Paper used in the printing of Harry Potter
The paper used in the printing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is FSC-certified, meaning that it has come from responsibly managed forests. The publisher has committed to using as much FSC-certified paper as possible for the entire Harry Potter series, which totals approximately 22 million pounds of paper. This marks the largest purchase of FSC-certified paper for a single book printing. The paper also includes at least 30 percent post-consumer waste fiber, a percentage that is verified by FSC standards.
The first collector’s edition of Harry Potter has a glassine dustwrapper that is prone to rubbing. Later printings of the book will be protected by a sturdier paper.