The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 10, Number 1
Apr 1996


Will More Groundwood be Allowed in Office Papers?

By trade custom, a maximum of 10% groundwood has been allowed in freesheet papers, because (supposedly) when a paper machine changes from groundwood to chemical stock, the groundwood fibers that have lodged in the machinery and pipes are gradually washed out and mix with the new stock. Today, however, the normal practice is to use different machines (or even mills) for groundwood and bleached papers. It is hard to tell how necessary this trade custom is nowadays.

ASTM recently discussed revision of D 3460, its standard for cut-size office papers, being aware of the fact that many of these papers are now made from recycled fiber, which may contain unpredictable amounts of groundwood. [Actually, it depends on what kind of waste paper went into the recycled fiber. Lockwood-Post's Directory lists over 50 categories of raw material for recycled paper. It is easy to control fiber quality in some categories, and hard in others.] The current draft, which is out for a vote, simply removes the 1% ceiling on lignin. It has not yet been given final approval.

However, an unsigned half-page article in the March Pulp & Paper (p. 19-20) assumes that the draft has already become an official standard. It says that CTMP producers are glad to learn this because they would like to see their pulps used in more printing and writing papers. The headline for the article reads, "New Paper Standards Relax Fiber Content." It says, "In effect, the ASTM has relaxed the 90% chemical pulp requirement, leaving the specific fiber composition of the paper up to performance standards agreed upon between the buyer and seller."

Feather Fibers Could be used to Make Diapers

Last October, the New York Times ran an article about the possibility of making paper from chicken feathers. This was the suggestion of Dr. Walter F. Schmidt, a scientist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland, who says he has found a way to do it. He was preparing feathers for analysis when he noticed that the ground feathers felt similar to cellulose; so he tried making paper out of them. It worked. Although feathers are not made of cellulose, but of keratin, a fibrous protein found in wool, hair and fingernails, they are still soft and absorbent when they are reduced to single fibers.

The research that Dr. Schmidt performed was partly financed by Perdue Farms, the poultry producer, which generates many tons of feathers as a byproduct. Perdue Farms will not license the process, however, so the Agriculture Department is looking for companies to license it. Paper made from feather fiber should be very good for industrial filters, or for any use requiring extreme absorbency.

Alkaline Papermaking in Latin America

The December 1996 issue of this newsletter reprinted from a paper industry journal some incomplete and inaccurate information about alkaline mills in Latin America. James Matters of Specialty Minerals has kindly sent in a list of the current major, alkaline paper producers in Latin America. The ones that have an onsite PCC plant are identified with an asterisk (*). arg.=Argentina; braz.=Brazil.

Company Location

Celulosa Argentina

Capitan Berrnudez (Rosaria), Arg.


San Justo & Quilmes, Arg.

Votorantim Celulose & Paper

Jacarei* & Luiz Antonia* - SP, Braz.

Cia. Suzano Papel & Celulose

Suzano* - SP, Braz.


Pindamonhangaba - SP, Braz.


Cali, Colombia


Anahuac*, Mexico

Watermarked Paper for Theses is Hard to Find

University dissertation offices generally would like to see all masters' and doctoral candidates use a permanent, watermarked paper for their theses and dissertations. The permanence requirement is easy to meet, because so many permanent papers are on the market now that are suitable for photocopying, and they generally sell at a reasonable price. The watermark requirement is not hard to meet either, because there are over 50 papers suitable for photocopying use in The Grade Finder (a paper catalog or directory) that are water-marked, and most of them are also on the list of permanent papers published by Abbey Publications, North American Permanent Papers. However, few of the watermarks identify the paper as permanent. This makes it hard for the dissertation officers to tell whether the student has followed instructions.

This information comes from a survey of the situation made by a student at the University of Maryland Preservation Department last year, Beth Shanabrook. Unfortunately, she was not able to identify any papers that were both permanent and watermarked, though she called 11 paper companies. Half of them are not listed in North American Permanent Papers, at least not for their watermarked papers; one of them had a disconnected telephone number; and five did not return messages.

News from NISO (National Information Standards Organization)

The ANSI/NISO standard for paper permanence, Z39.48, will receive a scheduled review this year.

NISO casts the U.S. vote in ISO committees dealing with paper, books, library practice and computerized information management. It approved two committee drafts, with comments, recently: CD 14416, Requirements for Binding Books, Periodicals, Serials..., and CD 11798, Permanence of Writing, Printing and Copying on Paper.

It is also taking part in balloting for ISO Draft International Standard 11800, Requirements for Binding Materials and Methods used in the Manufacture of Books, and is developing its own standards on preservation product information, library binding, and environmental conditions for the exhibition of library materials.

Hopper Papers has New Identity: G-P Printing Papers

Georgia-Pacific has been reorganizing its business approach and management structure for printing papers, to focus on customer services and programs. In line with this effort, Hopper Papers has been renamed Georgia-Pacific Printing Papers.

Rolland to Buy Provincial Papers

Rolland, Inc., a paper company based in Quebec, is in the process of buying Provincial Paper in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Rolland has two fine paper mills, one in St. Jérôme, which is mostly alkaline, and one in Mt. Rolland, which shut down seven or eight years ago. Provincial Papers used to be owned by Abitibi Price, but was bought by the employees in 1993, and its fine paper mill was subsequently shut down. (It has a newsprint mill too.)

These two paper companies seem made for each other. Rolland makes alkaline uncoated freesheet, and Provincial Papers makes neutral coated freesheet. Each sells 50% of its product in the U.S. The deal was scheduled to close April 30.

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