Where would the world be without paper? It has thousands of different uses and is used throughout the world many times in a day. Paper is largely used to write or print on, but it is also used in packaging, napkins and paper towel, toilet paper and some countries even use it as a food product. The first forms of paper were used as early as AD 105. It is thought that paper originated in China where rags and old fishing nets were boiled and beaten into pulp. This pulp was then drained of its water through a silk and bamboo screen and allowed to dry. The early Egyptians used papyrus to create a paper like sheet. Papyrus is a grass like plant that was cut into thin layers and beaten into sheets. People also used parchment for writing on. Parchment is made from dry animal skins.
Where Does Paper Come From?
Paper is created by pressing moist cellulose fibers together and then drying them. Most paper is created from cellulose collected from wood but rags, grasses and recycled paper products are also used to create paper. Large plantations of trees are especially grown to be harvested to make paper. Softwood trees make the best paper as they are high in cellulose. The trees are cut into small wood chips then soaked in water and chemicals to break down the bonds and form wood pulp. Once the wood has been turned into pulp it is often bleached to remove any by-products from the wood such as sap or bark. The water is then drained out of the wood pulp and the pulp is then squeezed to remove all the excess water that it has absorbed. Once this has been completed the wood pulp is placed in huge drying machines which remove any final water still held in the pulp. Once complete the wood pulp, which is now paper, is wound onto huge spools. These huge spools are either placed into another machine which cuts the paper to size or shipped to other countries as they are. Using recycled paper to create paper products is becoming more popular as people seek to find ways to impact the environment positively. You can now purchase anything from paper plates to toilet paper created from recycled paper. China is the largest producer of paper in the world and the United States uses the most paper each year.