Paper manufacturing efficient design and resource use

Paper and cardboard manufacturing: efficient use of raw materials


The raw materials and substances used in paper and cardboard businesses all have an impact on the environment. By carefully selecting your raw materials, you can reduce this impact and cut your costs.

You must store and handle raw materials carefully at all stages of processing and manufacture. If you cause pollution to air, land or water you are committing an offence.

Use safety data sheets (SDSs)

A safety data sheet (SDS) must accompany any material supplied to you that contains hazardous substances. The SDS gives information on how to handle, store and dispose of chemicals.

If you use chemicals or chemical products, you must make all your staff aware of the SDS for any hazardous substance or mixtures they handle, store or dispose of. If you receive a chemical without an SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one.

Store substances safely to avoid pollution

Oil and chemicals can be particularly damaging to human health and the environment. You must store and handle these appropriately to prevent pollution - see fuel and oil use responsibilities for paper and cardboard producers and chemical and REACH responsibilities for paper and cardboard producers.

Make sure that your material handling and storage areas do not cause air, noise or water pollution - see how to prevent pollution from paper and cardboard production.

Select less hazardous raw materials

Audit the raw materials that you use in your process. If you use any hazardous substances, consider using alternative less hazardous materials and practices, for example use:

  • elemental chlorine free (ECF) and totally chlorine free (TCF) grades of pulp from reputable suppliers
  • pesticide-free feedstock
  • environmentally friendly adhesives
  • water-based coatings in place of solvent-based ones
  • biocides that degrade rapidly, eg guanidine and isothiazolones
  • chemicals with high biodegradability, eg use diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid as a chelant in place of ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid or nitrilotriacetic acid
  • low mercury sodium hydroxide
  • chalk rather than clay as a filler, if it is compatible with the paper specification, as chalk retains water more efficiently

Don't use:

  • timber, wood chips or hemp that have been sprayed with harmful substances such as lindane or pentachlorophenol
  • alkylphenol ethoxylates
  • elemental chlorine

Consider sourcing materials that are certified by an environmental label or logo. Products displaying an environmental label must meet strict requirements covering a range of environmental impacts - see environmental labels and claims for paper and cardboard products.

Consider the whole life cycle of the materials that you source, including the impacts of the raw material, your production process, the final product and its disposal. For example:

  • Is the material delivered in reusable packaging?
  • Does the material reduce the amount of waste that you produce?
  • Does the material reduce the amount of energy or water that your process requires?

Select materials that make it easier for you to minimise, reuse and recycle your waste. For example, use materials delivered in pulpable bags, if they are suitable for your grade of paper. Contact your suppliers for help with choosing suitable materials.

Return pallets and packaging to your suppliers so that they can reuse them. Alternatively, you could reuse pallets and packaging around your site, or to dispatch your own products.

Use your raw materials as efficiently as possible to reduce the amount of waste you produce - see waste reduction and recycling from paper and cardboard production.