The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 1, Number 5
Dec 1988

A Seller's Market

In 1987, the real gross national product grew 2.9%, total industrial production grew 3.9%, and production of printing and writing papers in the U.S. rose 5.9%. The demand from consumers is now growing faster than-production even at this rate: the output of the printing and publishing industry grew 6.9%, and the use of office copy papers grew 12%. The price of paper has risen, and some kinds are no longer an the market because they are spoken for before they are produced. There is a shortage of fiber, which puts the "integrated" mills (those with their own pulp mills) and the alkaline mills at an advantage. The integrated mills don't have to pay high market prices for their pulp, and the alkaline mills use less pulp anyhow, because they substitute calcium carbonate for part of it.

In the current tight market, some of the demand may be satisfied with paper made of chemi-thermomechanical pulp (CTMP), which contains lignin but resembles paper made from chemical pulp, which has had most of the lignin removed. It can have the appearance of fine paper because the fibers have been separated. If the international movement to start classifying printing and writing paper by end use rather than furnish is successful, purchasers will have no help in avoiding the papers made from CTMP. They will have to set the paper in the sun and see if it turns brown, or carry their own bottle of phloroglucinol. The recipe for the spot test mixture in the TAPPI Test Methods book (T 401 om-82) is 1 g of phloroglucinol dissolved in 50 mL of methyl alcohol, 50 mL of concentrated HC1, and 50 mL of water. This will last about a year if it is kept in the refrigerator and carefully protected from light. Ready-mixed bottles are available from Light Impressions (439 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY 14607-3717, 800-828-6216, NY state 800-828-9629) as part of the "Tri-Test" kit for $26.75. The solution can be supplied in two parts to give a shelf life of indefinite length, by Talas, 213 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001-1996. The phloroglucinol solution turns magenta on groundwood. If the paper is a mixture of groundwood or CTMP and refined pulps, it will selectively stain those fibers with lignin adhering to them. The relative proportion of stained fibers can be more easily seen under the microscope.

Talas's phone number is 212/736-7744.

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