Paper and cardboard manufacturing pollution prevention

Paper manufacturing and air pollution


Paper and cardboard businesses can emit dust, smoke, fumes and gases which affect air quality.

Types of paper manufacturing emissions and air pollution

Emissions to air include:

  • oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur (SOx) and carbon (COx) from combustion plant or liquor burning
  • particulates and dust from combustion or paper handling
  • formaldehydes and ammonia from wet strength resins
  • solvents from cleaning or coating processes
  • chloroform from the use of chlorine compounds in bleaching
  • odorous substances from wet pulping or effluent treatment plants

Comply with your permit conditions

If your business has a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit, you must meet the conditions it contains.

Your permit may contain conditions relating to odour and emissions to air, including controls on substances such as:

  • halogens, eg chlorine, fluorine and bromine-containing substances
  • NOx
  • particulates, eg PM10 and dust
  • SOx
  • volatile organic compounds, eg formaldehyde

If you use organic solvents, you must comply with further requirements.

Avoid causing a nuisance

You must ensure that your activities do not create levels of dust, smoke or odour that could cause a nuisance to the surrounding community. If you do cause a nuisance, your local council can:

  • impose restrictions on your operations
  • stop your operations
  • require you to take steps to reduce the nuisance

See noise pollution, odour and other nuisances.

Meet boiler and chimney requirements

If you operate a boiler, you are likely to have to meet tight controls on its emissions to air.

You must not cause or allow a chimney or bonfire on your site to emit dark smoke. There are some exemptions from this requirement, but only if your installation won't cause emissions that could damage health or cause a nuisance - see preventing air pollution.

Check for ozone-depleting substances (ODS) or fluorinated gases (F gases)

In most circumstances, you must not use ODS for any degreasing or solvent application. ODS include:

  • hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • 1,1,1-trichloroethane
  • bromochloromethane
  • carbon tetrachloride

F gases are powerful gases that contribute to climate change. Common F gas uses include:

  • refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in buildings and vehicles
  • solvents
  • firefighting and fire protection equipment

If your business uses or handles F gases or equipment that contains them, you must comply with special controls.

Good practice to prevent air pollution

To reduce dust, odours and fumes you should:

  • establish systems to monitor, measure, control and minimise dust emissions
  • damp down areas of your site that give rise to dust (particularly in dry weather), but don't allow run-off to enter surface water drains
  • extract and filter dust-contaminated air during finishing
  • install chemical recovery systems to capture chemicals in exhaust gases
  • use filtered extraction hoods on paper machines to prevent emissions of odorous substances
  • remove water vapour with a ventilator to prevent emissions of hazardous substances in the water vapour
  • use low NOx burners if you have combustion plant
  • keep covers on chemical containers to prevent odour and stop the escape of potentially harmful vapours and fumes - this may also save you money by reducing loss of materials through evaporation

To reduce the risk of harmful chemical emissions you should:

  • reduce the use of bleaching chemicals by extending cooking and oxygen delignification
  • use brightening techniques that do not dissolve the lignin when bleaching mechanical pulp or recovered mechanical pulp - this will reduce the chemical oxygen demand of water in the manufacturing process
  • use chlorine-free techniques that do not use sulphur compounds when bleaching chemical or recovered chemical pulp
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