Handmade Papermaking in India:A Sustainable Production SystemVivek Kumar and R. C. MaheswariCentre for rural Development & TechnologyIndian Institute of Technology, DelhiHauz-khas, New Delhi-110016E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgAbstract: The paper industry is a forest based industry. Depleting forest cover is a majorcause of concern. This paper highlights the tremendous possibilities of handmade papermaking in India, which with its eco-friendly and environmentally cleaner productiontechnology will be an appropriate sustainable production system. Handmade paper isdefined as a sheet of paper or board produced by hand. In 1995 the production ofhandmade paper and board was 13,000 tonnes valued at Rs. 250 million which is 0.4 %of the total paper production in India. The export value of handmade paper and productswould be Rs. 70 million, indicating the high potential of the industry as an exportablecommodity. The raw materials used in handmade papermaking are the waste products ofthe textile industries, different bast fibres which are locally available and recycledsecondary fibres. Most of the HMP in India use cotton rags, both white and colored orwaste paper. When plant fibres requiring cooking and bleaching are necessary, theeffluent needs treatment. Handmade papermaking units can make many specialty papers,the demands on which are limited and therefore uneconomical to produce on aconventional paper machine. In the case of handmade paper the maximum limit ofrecycling is almost double, i.e., 8 times, primarily due to milder conditions of processingthe raw material into a sheet of paper. Handmade paper also shows a better strengthisotropy than machine paper. The fibres of handmade paper are shaken in 4 differentdirections, while the fibres of machine made paper are only shaken from side to side ortheir movement is frozen immediately on twin wire paper machines. Improved formationcan be acheived in handmade paper. Research is also being carried out on the treatmentof final effluent by water hyacinth and natural polyelectrolytes. Possibility of reusingtreated water is also being studied so that “Zero effluent Mill” status can be achieved.Keywords: Bast fibre, Employment potential, Handmade paper, Sustainabledevelopment, Secondary fibre, Zero effluent1. IntroductionMisuse of natural resources has come close to testing the earth’s capacity to its limits. Inless than 200 years, the earth has lost six million Km2 of forest. The sediment load fromsoil erosion has risen 3-fold in major river basins and 8-fold in smaller and moreintensively used ones, water withdrawals has grown from 100 to 3600 Km2 a year. Yetthe paradox is that a large proportion of the worlds population is poor. One in five hasn’tgot enough food, 25% are without safe drinking water, and millions of children die everyyear due to malnutrition and preventable diseases. There is a need to promote andperfect an ethic for living sustainably. A new kind of development is necessary, coupled
with significant changes in attitudes and practices (1). Sustainable development ismeeting the needs of the present without compromising on the ability of futuregenerations to meet their own needs (2). Basically, sustainable development is a processin which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation oftechnological development and the institutional charges are all made consistent withpresent as well as future needs (3). In 1980, a world conservation strategy waspublished. Conservation is both protection and rational use of natural resources. Theconservation strategy has emphasized three objectives, namely:(i) Essential ecological processes and life support systems must be maintained.(ii) Genetic diversity must be preserved, and(iii) Any use of species on ecosystems must be sustainable.In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development promoted theunderstanding of global interdependence and the relationship between economics and theenvironment, focusing on the need for sustainable development. The governments agreedon an “Environmental perspective to year 2000 and beyond” in 1987 defining a broadframework to guide environmentally sound development. (4)2. Status of Indian Paper Industry PaperIndustries like steel, cement, chemical and fertilizer, are known for polluting theatmosphere. Like all manufacturing industries, the pulp and paper sector takes a mixtureof raw materials (wood /non-wood), and processed material (chemicals/fuel) andconverts them into a mixture of furnished and partially finished goods. At all stages ofthe processing chain, wastes products are generated. Moreover, the paper industry isforest based and depleting forest cover is a major cause of concern. However, in Indianon-woody material like agro-residue and various grasses are being used as a goodsubstitute for wood but that is also very high in environmental costs. Examples fromother industrialized nations indicate that it is already too late for the Indian pulp andpaper industry and we shouldn’t wait any longer to take action. The present,environmentally unfriendly production technology and raw material are two basic issues,which must be addressed for survival. It’s time for policy makers to think and decide thefuture trends of the industry in the coming years. This paper highlights the tremendouspossibilities for handmade paper making in India, which with its eco-friendly andenvironmentally cleaner production technology will be an appropriate sustainableproduction system (5).3. Handmade Papermaking in IndiaHandmade paper is a sheet of paper or board produced by hand. If the sheet is formed bymeans of a cylinder mould and vat or on a fourdiner table, it cannot be called a han dmadepaper even if the subsequent operations are carried out discontinuously. It should,however, be noted that the Khadi and Village Industry Commission (KVIC) includespaper and boards made in the cylinder mould machine (CMM) with a definite maximumdeckle width of up to 102 cm. The All India Khadi and Village Industries Board wasestablished in 1953 and it includes the handmade paper industry in its developmentprogram. The above board later became the Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC), which further encouraged this industry through financial assistance and
technological assistance such as introducing new equipment, new techniques, developingnew varieties of paper, utilizing locally available diverse raw materials and helpingentrepreneurs in their marketing efforts. The handmade paper units also enjoy severalfiscal concessions and incentives such as central excise duty and sales tax exemptions insome States (6). Due to the above supporting program of the KVIC the number ofhandmade paper units grew from 35 in 1953 to more than 350 In 1993-94. In 1953, thevalue of handmade paper production was hardly Rs. 500,000 but it was more in 1993than Rs. 150 million. The employment potential of the handmade paper industry is large.It employs 7,500 people of whom 50% are women. The total wage bill amounts to overRs. 42.5 million. Table 1. gives details of the number of units, production and salevalues, employment and wages.Table 1: Performance of Handmade Paper units Year No. of working Employment Production Sales Wages Units in 800 Rs. Lakhs Rs. Lakhs (100,000s) (100,000s) 1953-54 40 1 5 5 1.7 1960-61 108 4 24 21 9.1 1971-72 176 4 81 87 26.24 1989-90 300 5 724 749 194.0 1990-91 325 6 853 921 256.0 1991-92 344 7 1210 1238 337.0 1992-93 350 7.5 1532 1605 426.0Source: Review Reports of HMPIIn 1995 the production of handmade paper & board was 13,000 tones valued at Rs. 250million which is 0.4 % of the total production of paper in India. The export value ofhandmade paper and products would be Rs. 70 million, indicating the high potential ofthe industry as an exportable commodity.The handmade papermaking units are scattered throughout the country with moreconcentration in U.P., Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Kerala. The capacity ofthe units range from 50 kgs to 700 kgs per day. Registered institutions, cooperativesocieties, private entrepreneurs and individual artisans own the units. KVIC has anambitious national program of increasing the production capacity to 60,000 tonnes(1.2% of the total projected paper production in India) by the year 2002 (7). Table 2shows various raw materials used in the handmade paper making.
Table 2 : Raw materials used in Handmade PapermakingS.NO. RAW PROCESS CHEMICAL USED CONDITIONS AVAILABILITY REMARKS MATERIAL1. Rag Cooking 3-4% NaOH, 6-8 hrs. White and new rags, old Soda silicate can be used up to 40%, 6-8% Na2CO3 130-1400C whites, threads and color rags when NaOH is being used or 15%Ca(OH)2 Bath ratio-1:3 from cotton textile industry, tailors, denim fabric industry Hypochlorite+ lime and hosiery market Bleaching or 2-2.5 hrs 80% brightness can be achieved H2O2+Na2CO3 Ledger paper, Filter paper, Drawing +Na2SiO3 paper, Bible or Skin Paper2. Cotton Pressure Cooking 6-8% NaOH 2-4 hrs. Cotton mills Very high tear strength linters Bath ratio-1:33. Jute and Pressure Cooking NaOH+Na2SO3 as 4 hrs. West Bengal, High strength but very low brightness. Kenaf 14% Na2O 160-1650C Bihar, Assam Shopping bags, cover, tags, folders etc. Open Cooking NaOH+Na2SO3 as high as 20% Na2O 8-10 hrs.4. Kenaf and Open Cooking 15% NaOH+ 2hrs. Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and High tensile strength and brightness Mesta 5-10% H2O2 Bath ratio-1:10 Tamil Nadu level upto 65% IS05. Sun Hemp Pressure NaOH+Na2SO3 - Uttar Pradesh Used in tissue and cigarette tissue paper Cooking6. Common Pressure 20% NaOH 4hrs. Herbaceous and - Hemp Cooking 1450C dioecious plant Produced in Bath ratio-1:5 India for narcotic as well as medicinal values
Bleaching Hypo, chlorination and then 80% ISO brightness hypo7. Sisal Open - 1hrs. Orissa, Kerala Dark in color but impart high porosity Cooking Bath ratio-1:8 and Karnatka and absorption capacity8. Banana Soaking Water 20 hrs. Maharashtra, Extremely thin transparent like papers, Kerala and good quality strong tissues and Pressure cooking 8% NaOH 2hrs., 1350C Andhra Pradesh decorative papers. Banana pulp is Bath ratio-1:6 superior to Rag pulp Bleaching O2 diglinification+ hypochlorite bleaching Open cooking .05% EDTA+8% 4hrs. NaOH+2% H2O2 Bath ratio-1:69. Ankhada Soaking 15% Na2CO3 70 hrs., 400C Gujrat, Punjab, 94% yield and 49% ISO brightness Bihar and Rajasthan 30% Na2CO3 139 hrs., 400C 94% yield and 55% ISO brightness Bleaching 1%hypo 75% ISO brightness so it is possible to produce TCF pulp10. Waste paper Soaking Mild dose of NaOH 12 hrs. Pulp substitutes and high Admix with other high strength pulps and deinking grade deinking waste chemicals 5
4. Handmade Paper: A Sustainable Production System1. The raw materials used in handmade papermaking are the waste products of the textile industry, different bast fibres available locally and recycled secondary fibres. Almost all bast fibres, leaf fibres and cotton and linter fibres are from annual plants and therefore have short renewable cycles.2. Pulping of these raw materials is based on the use of non-polluting chemicals such as lime, soda ash, caustic soda, oxalates, oxygen, and peroxides. It is not necessary to use harmful chemicals like alkali sulphide and sulphite, chlorine and chlorine compounds for the delignification processes. There is hardly any pollution or negative impact on environment. Most of the HMP in India uses cotton rags, both white and colored or waste paper. When white rags are used, there is no cooking and bleaching and the discharged effluent contains very low levels of BOD and COD, however the effluent contains considerable fibre debris, which must be removed and separated. When plant fibres requiring cooking and bleaching are necessary, the effluent needs treatment. A simple method is to install a few tanks and then treat the wastewater with lime, which reduces the COD and the AOX content considerably. In some extreme cases, alum can be added to the effluent to flocculate the color and COD containing organic substances.3. Handmade papermaking units can make many of the specialty papers, whose demands are limited and therefore uneconomical to produce on a conventional paper machine. These varieties include fancy and decorative base paper, personalized stationary paper, deckle edge papers, ultra thin backing paper, permanent paper for museums, archives, and libraries, durable paper for certificates, legal documents etc.4. Recycling reduces considerably the papermaking potential of pulps. It is generally agreed that recycling causes a major reduction in breaking length, burst and fold and a lesser reduction in stretch and apparent density. The principal cause of these changes is the reduced bonding ability, which in turn is due to reduced fibre swelling. It is generally said that the maximum recycling limit should be 4 times. In the case of handmade paper this maximum limit is almost double, i.e., 8 times, due primarily milder conditions of processing the raw material to a sheet paper.5. Handmade paper shows a better strength isotropy than machine paper. The fibres of handmade paper are shaken in 4 different directions, while fibres of machine made paper are only from shaken side to side or their movement is frozen immediately on the twin wire type of paper machines. Improved formation can be acheived in handmade paper. There are less direction-oriented fibres on the sheet.6. Hands made papers are dried without any restraint and hence have natural shrinkage.7. Neutral or alkaline sizing with a small percentage of alum or without it enables production relatively more permanent, semi permanent and durable paper. It has now been proved, that ancient paper sheets of oriental origin have higher permanency than those of European origin. This is due to the selection of raw materials as well as their
subsequent processing into paper. The long lasting character of handmade paper is sometimes attributed to gelatin sizing and mild cooking and drying conditions.5. Problems and Emerging Solutions in HMP UnitsBits of dirt and specks are invariably found in sheets of handmade paper, however inmottled or decorative papers this is not so serious. But in white or semi white sheets,such as drawing and art paper or stationery papers it speaks of low quality. The properselection of raw materials, careful cleaning of work areas, drying of sheets in coveredhalls, a sense of cleanliness and good housekeeping could solve the problem to a greatextent.Although pride is taken in the fact that no two sheets are the same with HMP, uniformityin basis weight, color, whiteness and general appearance are important parameters ofquality which can be achieved through a professional and scientific methods of operation.When chemicals are added to stock, they must be weighed and not simply put into thebeater. To maintain stock consistency, the stock-water level should be maintained bypainting level marks on the beater. The new Japanese method of sheet formation and athe European method of stock recirculation in the vat are things that can be adopted forfiner varieties of HMP.For improvement in sheet formation of thinner grades of paper, the use of formation aidsshould be taught to the papermakers. The formation aids could be either syntheticchemicals or preferably vegetative mucilages. The vegetable mucilage controls the fibredispersion as well as the drainage rate. Mucilage of Cactus (Opiuntia belloni) has beentested with good results.In the present work various locally available plants materials such as the seed of the BanTulsi seed, the wild variety of Bhindi (Ambrettie) etc. are identified and their efficacy onvarious fibres is being graded. Ambrettie used with jute and rag fibres have shown verygood results. Similarly, the ban tulsi seed imparts good drainage characteristics. Theseaids also improve fibre retention, hence the loss of fibre reduces by up to 50%. Researchis also being carried out on the treatment of the final effluent by water hyacinth andnatural polyelectrolytes. The possibility of reusing treated water is being studied so that“Zero effluent Mill” status can be achieved.6. ConclusionThe hand made paper industry with minimum effluent discharge and small size unitsallows a large canvas for mill location taking advantage of several options such asproximity to consumer or exporter centers, easy accessibility for transportation ofsupplies and products to various consumer centers, as well as a large employmentpotential. As the Indian economy is a rural economy, this production system will not onlystop the wealth drain from rural to urban areas but also establish a strong industrial basefor rural development.
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