Industry: Paper Products
- Careers in this Industry
- Working in the Industry
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Working in the Industry
Production workers in paper mills usually learn their skills on the job. New production employees often start as laborers or helpers. As they gain experience, they advance to working as machine operators or inspectors in their departments. Employers often fill supervisory jobs by promotions from within the company. Jobs in engineering or production management require at least a bachelor's degree in mechanical, chemical, or industrial engineering.
Work areas may be uncomfortably hot, humid, noisy, and have toxic chemical fumes. Workers may lift heavy objects. Paper mills operate around the clock, so people may work day, evening, night, or weekend shifts. Most of the production jobs in this industry are included in union contracts.
Workers in paper products have an above average rate of injury and illness.
The paper products industry is reducing its pollution. This includes air and greenhouse gas emissions, wastewater, and solid waste. It is also focusing on energy efficiency.
Paper production uses a lot of energy. Energy from oil, gas, and coal creates pollution. Pulp and paper mills are reducing the amount of pollution they create by using wind power and other renewable energy resources to power their production processes.
For example, some pulp and paper mills use bioenergy. Bioenergy is fueled by biomass, which includes matter such as bark and wood chips. Using this renewable resource to create energy prevents it from going to landfills and creating methane gas. It also helps to reduce the industry's dependence on oil, gas, and coal. Currently, biomass makes up about 64% of the fuel that U.S. pulp and paper mills use.
Most of the energy that paper companies use goes to generate steam for production. Steam comes from water; and making paper requires large amounts of it. Paper companies try to reduce steam system losses and improve the efficiency of the machines that produce steam.
One company makes renewable, biodegradable packaging from its waste. For example, its CD packages are paper-based disc trays. They make them from starch, cellulose and water. Not only is the new packaging lighter weight, it is also an alternative to plastic.
Many companies in the paper products industry are also recycling paper.
They use recycled paper to create new products.