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What Is Wood Pulp?

Wood pulp is often used to make newsprint.
Paper towels are made with wood pulp.
A bag made of recycled pulp.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Wood pulp is a type of material that is created by processing wood collected from trees, and serves as the basis for the creation of a wide range of paper-based products. Several different processes are utilized to reduce the wood into a form that is ideal for manufacturing different types of paper goods, including paper used in printing books, magazines, and newspapers. The resulting paper product can also be used to create other paper products, including disposable paper plates, paper towels, and other common household items.

The process of reducing wood into wood pulp will often include the use of some sort of grinding machinery to create fine chips that can be refined using pressure and steam. This will often involve introducing the tiny chips to a steaming process that helps to soften the fibers, making the product more malleable. From there, pressure is exerted to create thin sheets that are ideal for use as newsprint for newspapers as well as paper that can be eventually worked into everything from mailing envelopes to paper used in printing books and magazines.

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A slightly different approach to the creation of wood pulp focuses more on using a combination of chemicals in a bath process. This process serves to separate the wood fibers while the material is cooking in the chemical bath. This approach produces a more durable product than steaming and pressurizing, and works especially well with creating goods that use hardwoods as the basis. For example, sheets of wood paneling created using birch and other hard woods are often produced using this particular approach.

Since the wood pulp is basically wood that has been treated and processed in order to create a usable raw material for different types of paper goods, the range of applications is very broad. This has led to an increased demand for wood pulp over the years. In order to meet the demand, there are companies that actively cultivate tracts of land for the express purpose of growing trees that can be harvested for this purpose. In addition to the production of new wood pulp using harvested trees, the practice of recycling the pulp waste that is produced during the manufacturing of various goods and services has also become common. Doing so helps to reduce the demand for harvesting more trees and also serves the purpose of preventing the pulp waste from ending up in landfills.

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