MAKING TOILET PAPER FROM THE TREES
Manufacturers don't use all types of trees to make paper. Toilet paper is generally made from "virgin" paper, using a combination of softwood and hardwood trees (a combination of approximately 70% hardwood and 30% softwood).
The paper manufacturers try to find a compromise between durability and a fine writing surface on their product. Other materials for final product of toilet paper include water, chemicals and bleaches.
Below are the steps in the toilet paper making process:
- Preparing trees (a combination of softwood and hardwood trees). Trees are stripped of their bark.
- The logs are carefully debarked with machine to leave as much wood as possible.
- The logs pass through machines that chip them into small pieces.
- The wood chips are separated into batches.
- A massive pressure cooker (a digester) cooks the wood chips with other chemicals for approximately 3 hours. The moisture in the wood is evaporated and the mass is reduces to cellulose fibres, lignin and other substances. Result is usable fibre, called pulp. The pulp is what paper is made from.
- The pulp is then washed clean of the lignin and the cooking chemicals
- The washed pulp is bleached until all the colour is removed. The adhesive that binds fibres together (lignin) must be removed from the pulp or the paper will become yellow over time.
- The pulp is mixed with a lot of water to produce paper stock (99.5% water and 0.5% fibre). The paper stock is sprayed onto screens of mesh that drain the water.
- The paper is then pressed and dried to final moisture (content about 5%).
- The paper is scraped off with metal blades and wound on jumbo reels. Then the paper is moved to machines that cut it into long strips and perforate it into squares. Finally, the paper logs are cut into rolls and wrapped packages.
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