What is it about?

Paper has long been considered an indispensable tool for recording data. Even in the digital age, paper has held its own, with its global production rapidly increasing over the last 3 decades. But paper production comes at a huge cost to the environment. The papermaking industry is an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is bad news, especially with the advent of climate change.

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Why is it important?

The authors of this paper sought to take steps to mitigate the damage caused by the papermaking industry. They studied the life cycles of various major paper products in China from their production to their use, while focusing on the energy consumed in this process. They found that in 2015, the energy consumption for one ton of paper produced was highest for tissue paper at 38.17 gigajoules, and least for corrugated medium, at 15.90 gigajoules. The authors also predicted the industry’s GHG emissions and proposed a mitigation target to be achieved by 2050. Alarmingly, they found out that at the current pace, the papermaking industry’s GHG emissions will exceed this target by about 101 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent! KEY TAKEAWAY: This study is an eye-opener for the impact that the papermaking industry has on the environment, and urges changes in the energy structure, through the use of low-carbon technology.

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This page is a summary of: Life cycle energy consumption analysis and green manufacture evolution for the papermaking industry in China, Green Chemistry, January 2019, Royal Society of Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/c8gc03604g.
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