All About Paper

History of Paper
The word paper comes from the Greek term for the ancient Egyptian writing material called papyrus; which was made from beaten strips of the papyrus plant. Considered one of the four great inventions of ancient China, the first papermaking process was developed in 105AD by the eunuch Cai Lun of the Han Dynasty. From China, the use of paper spread to the Islamic world – where the first paper mills were built, and paper production reached Europe in the early 12th century. In 1844 inventors Charles Fenerty and F.G. Keller developed the machine and the process of pulping wood to produce paper, thus ending the need to use pulped rags. This led to significant cultural changes throughout the world as it allowed for the first time the relatively cheap exchange of information in the form of letters, books and newspapers.

There are two methods commonly used in modern papermaking, they are chemical pulping, and mechanical pulping. Both processes utilise the same basic method as developed by Cai Lun in 105AD, which is that a dilute suspension of fibres is made by mixing refined pulp with water to form a slurry, this slurry is then laid onto a screen until the water drains from it leaving a wet paper sheet. This sheet is then pressed and dried, producing paper. The main difference between chemical and mechanical pulping is that chemical pulping produces stronger paper than mechanical pulping, however it is a more expensive process. Chemical pulping is used when particularly strong paper is needed, for example in the production of corrugated cardboard.

Recycled Paper
There are three categories of paper that are used for recycling; mill broke waste, pre-consumer and post-consumer waste paper. Mill broke is waste produced within the paper mill, which is then put back into the manufacturing system to be repulped back into paper. Pre-consumer waste includes offcuts and processing waste such as guillotine trims and envelope blank waste. This is waste generated after the paper has left the paper mill and also includes de-inked pre-consumer waste, such as waste from printers and unsold publications. Post-consumer waste is paper that has reached its intended end use and includes office waste, magazines and newspapers. As the majority of this waste has been printed on, it is either recycled as printed paper or goes through a de-inking process first. Recycled paper is normally blended with a small amount of virgin pulp in the interests of quality and in general it is not as strong or as bright as paper made from virgin pulp.

There are literally thousands of different uses for paper. Some of the more common applications include:

For writing or printing on.
The paper becomes a document – for keeping a record such as a sales order, or for communication purposes such as a letter or an invoice.

To represent value.
Paper is used throughout the world to represent value; either as money, a bank note, a cheque, a voucher or a ticket, etc.

To store information.
Works of art, books, notebooks, magazines and newspapers, among others, are ways in which paper is used to store information.

For packaging.
Paper bags, envelopes, gift wrap, and cardboard boxes all use paper as a means of packaging other items.

For cleaning.
Paper is used to make many different cleaning products, including toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, baby wipes and cat litter.

Other uses.
Other common applications for paper include its use as wallpaper, sand paper, papier mâché, quilling, litmus paper, filter paper and cigarette papers. Paper is also less commonly used for clothing and occasionally as a food ingredient.

A Series Paper Sizes
A4 Paper Size
US Letter Paper Size
Billboard Sizes
Newspaper Sizes
ISO Envelope Sizes
US Envelope Sizes
ANSI Paper Sizes
Business Card Sizes
Photo Sizes
Old Imperial Sizes
Canadian Paper Sizes
North American Architectural Sizes

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