By Taylor Krakuszeski
Another Side to Pulp and Paper Manufacturing . . .
In Memphis, TN there is a little mill that does not fit into this typical mold of what is pulp and paper. A former Buckeye Technologies mill acquired by Georgia-Pacific Cellulose in 2013, uses cotton linters as a raw material for the production of dissolving pulp. Dissolving pulp is an extremely pure, high-quality specialty pulp that is used in things such as acetate, ethers, and other chemically modified products. Cotton is a unique raw material for pulp making because its cellulose is very pure and requires little effort relative to wood from trees to convert into pulp. There are very few mills in North America that use cotton linters as a raw material to produce dissolving pulp, making the pulp produced in Memphis highly desirable to their customers.
Dissolving pulp is used in a variety of applications. You might find it in the back of your LCD television screen. Or maybe in the casing of the sausage you had at that barbecue. Or in the acetate glasses frames you are wearing. In a day where the general public does not see a lot of relevance in paper making due to things like the decline of newsprint and rise in electronic alternative to paper such as ebooks, it is important to know about these unique and sometimes obscure applications of cellulose products.
Think on Your Feet!
As an intern at Memphis Cellulose, I worked on various efficiency projects in different areas of the mill. I spent time in raw material receiving and processing as well as in the purification plant with the brownstock washing and bleaching stages. Being able to experience a side of pulp and paper making that does not use a typical raw material or the typical pulping processes taught here at NC State was priceless and a valuable learning experience. I was required to think on my feet and learn new things about their unique processes that I will not see in any class I take in school. I learned that it is important to take advantage of different opportunities presented and to not be afraid to try something a little outside the box when it comes to a career in the pulp and paper industry.
Thank you Georgia Pacific for my opportunity and for those of many other students!