A Finnish company has invented a novel method for protecting mechanical pulps against yellowing induced by light or heat, and registered it as U.S. Patent # 5,658,431. Polytetrahydrofuran can be used in the furnish or applied as a surface treatment or in coating, at 0.05-5.0% on the weight of the paper. The inventors are Jan Janson, Ingegerd Forsskahl, and Taina Korhonen. The company is Oy Keskuslaboratorio/Centrallaboratorium AB.
Ingegerd Forsskahl recently began working on the ASTM/ ISR research project to support a permanence standard based on "performance" (i.e., age-testing) rather than a combination of performance and components, as the ANSI/NISO and ISO standards specify. (The calcium carbonate minimum and lignin maximum refer to components; tear resistance is a performance characteristic; and pH is a chemical characteristic which depends on the components but predicts performance.) She will be paralleling work done at the Forest Products Laboratory in Wisconsin.
In Michigan, the House Consumer Protection Committee passed a bill last summer requiring state agencies to purchase chlorine-free paper products in increasing percentages each year. This is defined as paper bleached without the use of any chlorinated chemicals, including elemental chlorine, chlorine dioxide and sodium hypochloride; or paper not bleached by any chemical means. However, recycled paper made from paper products that were bleached in a former life is permitted.
In Illinois, a bill that would have required the government to give price preference to vendors of unbleached and non-chlorine bleached printing and writing paper was defeated by a more than 3-to-1 vote last summer.
In Maine, a TCF bleaching bill was defeated by a large margin last summer; in its place, the legislature passed a bill incorporating the most stringent dioxin standards in the country: 10 parts per quadrillion.
Tennessee last year banned purchases of paper from Champion until it clarifies the water of the Pigeon River. The water is too dark, by Tennessee color standards. Champion's effluent no longer contains any dioxin, since they went to ECF bleaching. The sole issue is the color of the water.
In the March 1998 issue of Pulp & Paper, Kelly Ferguson reviews sales of paper chemicals, which were generally steady or sluggish in 1997. The continued increase in alkaline papermaking, however, has caused the demand for alkaline sizes to grow, with a rate of 5% to 8% per year predicted for the next three years. The conversion of traditionally acid-sized (especially paperboard) grades has added to that growth.
Additional biocide/slimicide sales are also attributed to the increase in alkaline papermaking, since microorganisms prefer an alkaline to an acid environment.
Minerals Technologies Inc. saw its 1997 sales increase by 14%, due to startups of five new PCC satellite plants and expansions or volume increases of previously constructed plants. In 1997, satellite plants started operation at Boise Cascade's mill in Jackson, AL; at SCP's mill in Ruzomberok, Slovakia; in Perawang, Indonesia, for a joint venture; in Anjalankoski, Finland; and at Mondi's mill in Merebank, South Africa. MTI now has 52 plants around the world. The plants are built next to the mills they serve, and MTI operates under a lease with the mill. Sometimes its subsidiary Specialty Minerals builds the plants.
In 1998, several contracts to construct PCC plants were signed. One of the plants will be five times the basic size because it has to serve the Champion mill in Courtland, Alabama, one of the largest producers of uncoated freesheet in the world.
Acid-tolerant PCC makes it possible to manufacture calcium carbonate-filled paper from mechanical pulp, which is usually produced in an acid environment. Although the full story behind the development of ATTM-PCC has never been told, a few mills have been using this kind of filler for CTMP and other mechanical grades for over five years. Last fall, MTI put into service its first "fully-dedicated" plant at the Myllykoski mill in Anjalankoski, Finland, as part of a joint venture. Another fully-dedicated plant will be built at Madison Paper Industries' mill in Madison, Maine, where paper is made for the New York Times Company.
The November/December 1997 issue of Restauro, on page 476, has a picture of the title page of the first book about making recycled paper, which reads, "Eine Erfindung aus gedrucktem Papier wiederum neues Papier zu machen, und die Druckerfarbe völlig heraus zu waschen, von D. Justus Claproth, öffentlichen Lehrer der Rechte und Beysitzer der Juristenfacultät. Göttingen, gedruckt bey Johann Albrecht Barmeier, 1774"--An Invention for Making New Paper Out of Printed Paper, and for Washing the Printing Ink Completely Out, by Justus Claproth [etc.]. (Perhaps it is only a coincidence that Scheele discovered chlorine in 1774. The text of the article does not say.)
The picture of the 1774 book is in the first of two articles on the question of whether recycled fiber should be used in printing and writing paper. The first one, "Altpapier: Archivierung--Konservierung und Umweltschutz," is by Wilhelm Willemer, a paper engineer with Hahnemühle Papierfabrik; the second, "Recycling-Papier: Ein archivierungsfähiges Material?" is by Manfred Anders, an organic chemist, who works at Steinbeis Transferzentrum Textilveredlung and may be the same Manfred Anders who attends conferences of IADA, a conservation organization.
In June of 1995, the average price of scrap paper peaked at about $315 per ton. That was when thieves were making off with scrap paper put out at the curb before the city could collect it. Immediately, however, it began a decline to $60 in June of 1996. It has risen slowly since then, but has not gone above $100 a ton.
Clinton's 1993 Executive Order 12873 mandated the use of paper with at least 20% recycled content in the Executive Branch. The General Services Administration, however, continued to sell virgin copy paper to the agencies because it was cheaper, at least for a while; also, because that was what the agencies requested.
Now GSA has said it will stop stocking copy paper that does not contain at least 20% post-consumer material. The change in policy has not been officially announced yet, but last December a GSA official's rash comment gave rise to a backlash that brought action. Frank Pugliese, commissioner of GSA's Federal Supply Service, reportedly said at a paper summit meeting, "Executive orders are executive orders, big deal. You can't take them to the bank."
Two senators sent a letter of reproof to the GSA administrator, and are now planning hearings. Ralph Nader sent a letter asking what the administration planned to do about the weak compliance, and one of his associates blasted the government in an op-ed piece. GSA compliance looks inevitable, but it will not stop the agencies from ordering the kind of paper they want from commercial sources. (Condensed from "Commissioner's Comments Increased Pressure on GSA to Change Policy on Recycled Paper," by Ken McEntee, Recycled Paper News v.8, #7, April 1998.)
A good number of deinking mills (which make market pulp from waste paper) were built in recent years, when enthusiasm was high across the country. Then the Post Office launched its unrecyclable stamps with pressure-sensitive adhesive; the price of office waste paper shot up to eight or ten times its former price; and garbage and junk appeared in recycling bins along with the paper. The government was buying very little recycled paper, the public likewise. Several companies with new deinking mills have gone bankrupt, and most of the rest are running less than full time.
Aside from a weak market, what holds deinking mills back now is stickies--pressure-sensitive adhesives that will not dissolve or disperse and cannot be removed by screening, but which form globs and circulate in the water system. They build up on the wires and felts and work their way into the paper, causing breaks in the web and dark spots or holes in the paper. (Condensed from Don McBride's story, "Unrealistic Thinking Spurred Office Wastepaper Deinking Dilemmas" in the December 1997 Pulp & Paper.)
In the fall of 1997, Champion announced plans to sell two newsprint mills; a groundwood specialty paper mill; a premium paper mill in Hamilton, OH (400 tons/day of alkaline and neutral freesheet); a large (710 tpd) alkaline paper mill in Canton, NC; a plant in Waynesville, NC; its paper-recycling business based in Houston; and 325,000 acres of timberlands in three states. All together, the sales accounted for annual net sales of 1.4 billion dollars and employed 26% of Champion's workforce. Cuts in the workforce are to continue. The company will concentrate on its main coated paper operations.
Crown Vantage closed its smallest mill, the one in Newark, NJ (22 tpd). It plans to focus on uncoated printing and publishing papers, and will look for partnerships and acquisitions. For recent news, see its web site at www.crownvantage.com.
International Paper recently brought its three European mills--Aussedat Rey "Papiers de Creation," the Specialty Paper Division of Zanders Feinpapiere AG, and Strathmore/Beckett papers--into a new business unit, International Paper Premium Papers in Europe, which is part of IP's Fine Papers Division.
James River Corp. and Fort Howard Corp. completed their merger in the third quarter of 1997. The new company is called (predictably) Fort James Corp., and will make no fine paper, focusing on consumer products.
The New York City Paper Mill, to be built in the Bronx for manufacture of recycled newspaper, now has a $3 million loan from the state for construction of the recycling plant and paper mill, designed by Maya Lin, who also designed the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
Simpson Paper Co., formerly known for its text and cover, and printing and writing grades, will focus on linerboard and packaging in the future. It has sold its alkaline Shasta Mill in Anderson, CA; its Centennial Mill in Gilman, VT; and its alkaline San Jacinto Mill in Pasadena, TX. Its only remaining fine paper mill, the San Gabriel Mill in Pomona, CA, is still with the company, but its production has been cut in half. None of the mills produced more than 450 tpd.
Wausau Paper Mills Co. joined its Rhinelander mill with recently-purchased Otis Specialty Papers in 1997 to form the new Wausau Papers--Technical Specialty Division. Both mills make pressure-sensitive labels
Crescent Preservation Products is a new company formed cooperatively between Crane & Co., Crescent Cardboard Co., and Alpha Cellulose Corp., to provide 100% cotton museum boards to the museum market. Extraordinary steps have been taken to ensure the permanence and high quality of the products. The standards to which the board is manufactured (Library of Congress specifications) are made known, and the products are tested by independent laboratories. The new company works with an advisory board of leading paper conservators, all fellows of the American Institute for Conservation: Mary Todd Glaser, Debora D. Mayer and Emil Schnorr. It is a member of the Image Permanence Institute advisory board, the American Association of Museums and the FACTS Institute for Research, Standards and Terminology.
At present, museum board is available in white, cream and black; other colors are planned. For information call 800-727-3749.
U.S. Patent No. 5,645,902, assigned to ECC International, Inc., discloses an improved form of calcium carbonate that is acid resistant for use in making neutral and lightly acidic papers. A mixture of sodium carbonate and at least two weak acids stabilizes the calcium carbonate composition. The inventor is Kuan-Ting Wu.
A copy of this patent costs $3.00 from the Assistant Commissioner for Patents, Washington DC 20231.