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recycling is natural

forests and the
greenhouse effect

unsustainable forestry

landfill and the
throwaway society

a more
positive image

 

 
paper = trees?

beginning of wood pulp

papermaking by hand, c.1790
papermaking
by hand, c.1790
 

recycling symbol
what is
recycled paper?

the ABCD system

using the
ABCD classification

The need
for standards

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Paper = trees?

Paper had been invented in China by the second century AD and was introduced to Europe in medieval times. Originally it was invariably made from cotton and linen rags, which is a great irony when you consider that the debate about the benefits of recycling paper seems to always ignore the fact that paper was the original recycled product!

Foudrinier papermaking machine, c. 1840

Foudrinier papermaking machine, c. 1840

In 1810 a pound weight of rags commanded a street price of 3d - worth as much as two hours work for a labourer - and the price rose steadily over the following few decades as demand for paper outstripped the available supply of rags.

In part, the shortage was caused by introduction of mechanical paper making, invented by the Foudrinier brothers about 1800. More importantly, the steady rise in public literacy stimulated demand for printed products of every kind. It was this demand which drove Victorian entrepreneurs to search for a cheaper and more plentiful raw material to replace the now expensive rags.
 

The beginning of wood pulp

As early as the 1750's experiments in papermaking using other waste materials had been tried. For example straw and wasps nests (themselves, of course, made from wood) were tried. Early in the19th century a Dutch businessman was producing a genuine re-pulped paper using such additional fibrous materials as hay, straw and thistles.

However, it was not until 1843 that wood pulp was first developed commercially for papermaking, and when esparto grass was included to strengthen the fibres from about 1850, modern papermaking methods took root and from then on the use of wood pulp became the norm for mass-produced paper.
 

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Recycled Paper Supplies - the very best in recycled paper and stationery products