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How are paper cups made?

How paper is made

Majority of the food, beverages, snacks are served in paper packaging, and it is clear that paper plays a key role in our daily life. Below I will run through the process of how trees become paper.

Making Pulp

After the trees are cut down, they are debarked and then they are made into wood chips and then through a mechanical process the logs are converted into pulp. The pulp is fed into the digester where they will be cooked in a chemical solution at a high temperature in a mix of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide. 


This part of the process is where the remaining pulp is put through a pounding and squeezing process. During this step, various filler materials can be added such as chalks, clays, or chemicals such as titanium oxide which these additives will influence the opacity and other qualities of the final product.

Pulp to Paper

The pulp is laid and fed down on the mesh screening where the pulp is being squeezed by a series of rollers to help remove the water from it.

After the water is removed and the pulp is squeezed, the paper passes over a series of steam-heated cylinders to help remove the remaining water and after is dried, the paper is wound onto large reels. Paper is smoothed and compacted further by passing through metal rollers called calendars. The paper may be further finished by passing through a vat of sizing material to receive a coating, which can be brushed on or rolled on. This coating could for example be plastic for when making paper cups.



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