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Identification of Fibre Components in Packaging Grade Papers

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Environmental and economic issues have led to a significant increase of recycled paper as the main fibrous component of corrugated board the last years. Qualitative data on the different fibre types are needed for the evaluation of packaging fibre supply sources, which are becoming numerous and heterogeneous. Fifteen different packaging grade papers (7 linerboards and 8 corrugating medium) were selected to represent all the variety of papers available on the Spanish market. The origin of virgin and recycled fibres was identified by their morphological characteristics employing light microscopy and standard fibre analysis techniques. The waste-based papers (Waste based-liners and Fluting), Kraft-liners and Test-liner were highly variable containing 9–18 different wood and nonwood components. Semi-chemical, with 5–13 components, was the less variable grade. Hardwoods were identified as the most important fibre component from a quantitative standpoint. All papers contained in their hardwood mix Betula, Eucalyptus and Populus in significant amounts. Fagus sylvatica and Tilia were also frequently observed and in some papers were amongst major hardwood components. Prominent softwood components were found to be Pinus sylvestris, P. pinaster, P. radiata, Picea, Larix and in some papers Pinus nigra. The lower presence of a variety of softwood, hardwood and nonwood (mainly grasses) species and genera was due to the paper recycling process.


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