Use of Nonwood Plant Fibers for Pulp and Paper Industry in Asia: Potential in China
Chandra, Mudit IV
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The pulp and paper industry around the world has been growing rapidly. As a result there has been a huge demand for pulp and paper making raw material. Recent years have seen a spurt in use of nonwood fibers being used as a raw material for this purpose. Although some of the nonwood fibers used for papermaking are used because of their fine paper making qualities, majority of nonwood fibers is used to overcome the shortage of wood fibers. As a result their use is more widespread in countries with shortage of wood. The use of nonwood fibers in pulp and paper industry is fraught with problems. Right from supply of raw material to the properties of finished paper, majority of nonwood raw material has proven to be economically inferior to wood. But over the last few years, technological breakthrough in almost all the fields of papermaking have made nonwood more competitive with wood as a raw material for papermaking. Although till recently, use of nonwood fibers for pulp and paper making was concentrated in countries with limited wood supply, it is now showing an increasing trend even in countries with adequate wood supply due to environmental considerations. With time this trend can be expected to grow further and it can be safely said that the future of nonwood plant fibers as pulping and papermaking raw material looks bright.