Paper: available in many types and for many applications
‘Paper here’. Millions of children and adults will immediately think of Efteling when reading or hearing those words. It is true that this is paper waste that Holle Bolle Gijs is fond of, but the life cycle of many types of paper often starts with the collection of waste paper. In any case, this is the case with recycled paper. But there are also types of paper that are based on other raw materials such as bamboo, wood, reed and rags. The many types of paper produced are used for numerous applications.
Paper for many applications
Paper is used for various purposes. First of all, it can be written and drawn on paper or it can be printed. However, many other uses are possible depending on the type of paper. In daily use we also know, among other things, toilet paper, tissues, kitchen rolls, advertising brochures, money, etc.
Raw materials for paper
In many cases, paper is white, which is achieved by a bleaching process of the raw materials. These raw materials can consist of natural substances such as bamboo, wood or reed. But the reuse of old paper or old clothing can also serve as a raw material.
History of paper: from reed stems to wood pulp
Papyrus existed as an early precursor to paper in ancient Egypt. Papyrus was obtained by smashing the stems of reed that grew along the Nile, causing fraying or fibers. Mats were woven from these fibers, which were sanded smooth after drying and which could eventually be written on.
As the need for writing material grew, parchment was used in addition to papyrus. Parchment was made from animal skins. Writing on parchment was done with a reed pen or quill pen. Parchment can be kept for a long time, which is still proven in museums where many old parchment books are still in good condition.
Paper from Chinese and Arabs
Paper is said to have been invented by the Chinese and copied by the Arabs at the end of the eighth century from captured Chinese during a war between the Chinese Empire and the Arab Empire. The paper made by the Arabs replaced the less sturdy papyrus and expensive parchment.
From Arabia to Europe
In the Middle Ages, merchants took the paper from Arabia to Spain and Italy. Later, paper was made there themselves and the technique of making paper spread further across Europe.
The first paper mill from our region dates back to 1405 and was located in the former Southern Netherlands in the town of Huy. After the fall of Antwerp, a paper mill was built in 1585 in the Northern Netherlands near Dordrecht.
Paper industry Veluwe
Later on, a paper industry flourished on the Veluwe in the seventeenth century. At the time, the so-called rag-man bought rags in villages and towns and sold them to the paper mills for the production of paper.
From rags to wood
When in the first half of the nineteenth century a shortage of rags arose, a new raw material was sought and in 1840 it was discovered that wood cellulose could be used as a raw material. From that time on a lot of paper has been made from wood.
Classification of types of paper
Paper grades can be classified in various ways, such as based on use, fiber type or fiber treatment, bleaching method, surface area, weight, format and presentation method.
In the classification based on use, a distinction can again be made between:
- Graphic papers: The main graphic papers are letterpress paper, copy paper and newsprint.
- Hygienic and sanitary papers: This includes kitchen roll, diaper, tissue and toilet paper.
- Artist paper: Artists who work with paper mainly use watercolor paper and drawing paper.
- Writing paper: The main writing paper is stationery, but this also includes lined paper, music paper, graph paper and typewriter paper.
- Packaging paper: Types of wrapping paper for wrapping something protective or embellishing are, for example, gift wrap, gift wrap or other wrapping paper.
- Others: Numerous other papers have completely different functions such as baking paper, wallpaper, edible paper, insulation paper, parchment, ring binder paper, rice paper and security paper.
Fiber type or fiber treatment
The pulp underlying paper can be of various types such as:
- Chemical pulp
- Recycled paper
- Semi chemical pulp
Bleaching or colored
There are only two options when it comes to bleaching, but there are many colors.
Paper can have different surfaces, such as satin-finished paper that is smoothed during the production process under the influence of pressure, heat and friction.
- With structure
Paper comes in various weights, with the heavier papers generally having a more professional appearance. Heavier types are used for business cards and company brochures, and lighter ones for advertising brochures. The weight of paper is indicated in grams per square meter, such as 80 grams for printer paper. Common weights are:
- 80 g
- 100 g
- 115 g
- 130 g
- 150 g
- 170 g
The sizes of paper are created by cutting larger sheets.
- A 1 to 5
The way in which paper is sold varies from a single sheet to a large roll of many meters.
- Business suit
Pay attention to price difference when buying
Many types of paper are available in numerous places from office supply stores to supermarkets. For special varieties such as real bovine parchment it will take a little more effort to get it. The price difference between one paper and another can also vary. But those who use a lot of copying paper, for example, will be able to find an offer somewhere a few times a year, which is also the case with toilet paper. Walking to the parked car with twelve rolls may then be done at a somewhat faster pace so as not to look too long.