Pulping processesIn general, the main raw materials used for pulp and papermaking are wood, non-wood, and recycled wastepaper. Cellulose fibers are separated from these sources and treated to produce pulp. Wood pulp is the most consumed pulp worldwide and has a market size of more than 160 billion U.S. dollars. The virgin fibers are derived from different types of pulpwood species, which are classified into two families, hardwoods and softwoods. These are used to produce a variety of pulps, broadly categorized as mechanical, chemical, and semi-chemical pulp.
Pulp for paper production can be prepared at integrated mills or non-integrated mills. Integrated paper mills have the on-site capabilities to produce pulp, and then convert it into paper. In comparison, pulp at non-integrated pulp mills is dried and transported to other paper mills. This is known as market pulp.
Pulp productionAs of 2020, North America was the largest pulp-producing region, accounting for over one-third of pulp for paper production that year. Much of this came from the United States, which was the largest pulp for paper producer in the world in 2020, with an output of 50 million metric tons. Brazil and China followed, with roughly 20 million metric tons produced.
Of the estimated 171 million tons of virgin pulp used in the production of paper in 2021, some 70 million tons was market pulp. Of this total, 90 percent was Bleached Chemical Pulp (BCP) mainly derived from hardwood tree species. China accounts for the largest share of global market pulp demand, growing from a share of 14 percent in 2008 to more than 30 percent by 2021.