In Finland, the company Kemira Oy is building a pilot plant for the production of sulfur and chlorine-free chemical pulp, in conjunction with the Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute and the Technology Development Centre of Finland. It will use a pulping process using hydrogen peroxide and formic acid. Trials begin this fall.
Weyerhaeuser is now producing bleached kraft pulp at its new pulp mill at Columbus, Mississippi. The mill's advanced process systems are said by Weyerhaeuser to make it the world's most environmentally friendly pulp mill.
Late this year, a flax pulp mill near Port Kells, British Columbia, will go into production, using a potassium pulping process that uses oxygen and hydrogen peroxide as bleaching agents. The fiber will be used in banknotes, Bibles and other high quality specialty papers. The mill should be effluent free, as all the waste will be reprocessed rather than discharged into a stream or burned. The mill belongs to Arbokem, Inc. of Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Orenda Forest Products Ltd. is building a zero-effluent mill in British Columbia. They announced that it was B.C.'s first, but there are two other such mills under construction in B.C. besides theirs: the Arbokem mill, above, and Louisiana Pacific's mill at Chetwynd, B.C. The L.P. mill is almost completed. It will make BCTMP (bleached chemithermomechanical pulp) using a process developed by Hymac Ltd.
The state purchasing officials of most states have been frustrated by the lack of common terminology and standards in the recycled paper marketplace, and have been since 1988, when they were first required to buy it for any project involving federal funding. In late 1989 they approached ASTM, the world's largest voluntary consensus standards organization, for help. A committee and five task groups were set up, including one on terminology, which proved to be a bottleneck because of the large number of term it was given to work m, and because its work was basic to the work of the other task groups. Furthermore, ASTM has a policy of inviting all interested parties to cane to meetings and work out something everyone can agree on. Normally this works, but in the case of recycled paper there were too many groups coming from too many directions, and some of them had entrenched interests. Although 40 more terms were approved at the last meeting, the state purchasing officials became impatient and decided to work out their own set of terms and specifications, in time for their national association's meeting in September. They will continue to work with AM.
The April 29 Chemical & Engineering News devotes over a page to a story on EPA's upcoming review of dioxin risk, apparently prompted by recent studies and the general discussion of whether they might lead EPA to revise the way it sets its standards. The Chlorine Institute's "Banbury" conference in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, at which many of the participants expressed confidence in a risk assessment model based on a receptor-mediated process, was apparently a big factor leading EPA chief William K. Reilly to reexamine its previous rigid formula. Another factor was the recent very thorough study of occupational exposure to dioxin (TCDD) by Marilyn Fingerhut of NIOSH; she found no excess of cancer occurrence in men exposed to 90 times the average amount of TCDD.
EPA is on a tight timetable, and should have its report ready in a year. At the same time, the National Academy of Sciences is doing its own independent study, mandated by Congress; it is expected to take longer. When this is all over, the known unreliability of animal tests may finally be acknowledged by environmental groups. The next step, then, would be to go back and reevaluate other chemicals.
Before this development, EPA was expected to impose its 0.013 ppq dioxin standard this summer, to take effect in 1992 for pulp mills, many of which have been complying voluntarily. Dioxin production in the effluent of pulp mills is already down 50% from what it was in the early 1980s.
In response to a query in the Abbey Newsletter about the need for a symbol for alkaline paper, Diana Nikolova of Sofia, Bulgaria, has submitted the following design. It is like a monogram made up of the letters a and p.
The infinity sign in a circle, a registered trademark of the National Information Standards Organization, has a narrower meaning. It is meant only to identify papers that meet the American national standard for permanence of uncoated paper for printed library materials. Not all alkaline papers are also permanent by the criteria of any permanence standard; perhaps only half of them are also permanent. Still, alkaline papers do last a lot longer than acid paper, other things being equal, and are very popular with people who are concerned about permanence . A symbol on the box or carton would be very helpful to such people, and to the salesmen who serve them.
A letter to the editor in the June 1991 Tappi Journal from R.N. Jopson of Pira International in Surrey, U.K., suggests that lignin, like cellulose, be used to make boxboard. In a recent project at Pira, they improved the compressive strength of linerboards and fluting media 100% by impregnating them with lignin, which increased the basis weight by only 18-20%. Recyclability is not impaired
The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) was established by act of Congress in 1970 to advise the President and Congress on the needs of American libraries and information services, to evaluate their effectiveness, and to coordinate their activities at all levels. Recently, it has become active in preservation matters. Two years ago it passed a resolution endorsing the use of permanent paper (Abbey Newsletter May 1989, p. 26). In March, the chairman of NCLIS wrote to governors of all the states, calling their attention to the law signed last October by President Bush, which makes it federal policy to use permanent papers for materials of enduring value, and urges American publishers and state and local governments to do the same. He asked them to send him copies of any laws they passed, and enclosed a packet of resolutions and government documents on the subject. (Reprinted from .Abbey Newsletter May 1991, p. 54).