Atlantic Forestry January 2019

Better process?

AFR: With all the controversy about the treatment of waste from the Abercrombie mill, one thing has been largely ignored.

In the 50 years since the mill was built, processes have changed in a lot of mills. A number of the mills used to have groundwood processes that used about one cord of wood for a ton of pulp. Then industry wanted stronger and whiter paper, and the sulfite and kraft processes were used. Abercrombie uses the kraft process. Those chemical processes use over two cords of wood to get a ton of pulp. And the waste from the chemical processes in the air and the water is something that nobody has really made acceptable.

In the later 1980s and the 1990s, both Stora and Bowater switched most of the process to a process using mostly steam, called thermomechanical. This process vastly reduced the amount of wood used to make a ton of pulp. I remember that Bowater was able to sell a vast tract of their woodland that they no longer needed to Irving in Yarmouth and Digby counties. At the same time, they reduced their haul distances. The sludge from treatment of the waste was burned in the mill boiler, and the whole process had a better smell.

If the province and Northern Pulp have had half a century to fail in providing clean air and clean waste from the kraft process, it is high time to look at changing the process. It is sure hard to really believe anything they tell us about any new treatment of the same old chemical product. And changing the process itself could save a heck of a lot of clearcutting.

Charles Jess
Yarmouth, N.S.

(Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Charles. Northern Pulp has asserted that there is no feasible closed-loop technology to produce bleached kraft, the specific product for which the company has specific markets, for use in papermaking in Asia. Whether there may be different technologies on the horizon, or market opportunities with a different product, are questions that warrant closer consideration. DL)


Prefers paper

AFR: I would like to see more on alternate uses for forests and forest products, forest management cooperatives, small-scale sawmilling, re-forestation, and tree planting.

I really like all of your publications. I hope you remain a healthy publisher for a long time. I much prefer paper publications as opposed to “on-line.” I look forward to receiving your publications in the mail.

Keep up the good work.

Christian Kroeger
Merrickville, Ont.