Pulping Q&A with Sunstrand’s Senior Chemist, Natalie Hendrix

Natalie HendrixWe’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls in the past month about pulping. We briefly sat down with our Senior Chemist, Natalie Hendrix, to discuss pulping and its many applications.

Q: What is Pulping?

Natalie: “Pulping is a process that reduces lignocellulosic biomass into its individual cellulose fibers. Essentially, we separate the cellulose from the non-cellulose. I promise it’s more interesting than it sounds.”

Q: What are the alternatives to pulping?

Natalie: “I feel like pulp is used in specific applications where there really isn’t an alternative, like in paper and paper products. If you have an application where you are using some kind of additive or filler, then the alternatives to using pulp would most likely be some type of mineral filler, a different type of fiber, or even our hurd. The alternatives in the packaging industry would be plastic.”

Q: Why choose pulping over these alternatives?

Natalie: “In the packaging industry, using pulp would allow you to be compostable and biodegradable. Pulp could offer improved properties in applications where it is used as a filler, but it depends on the application and environment where the pulp is being used.”

Q: What feedstock is usually pulped?

Natalie: “The vast majority of pulp on the market is wood pulp, but cotton linters and eucalyptus are also used.”

Q: Why are our feedstocks better?

Natalie: “Because they are rapidly renewable compared with wood. They can be pulped with fewer chemicals and can be bleached using environmentally-friendly bleaching agents compared with wood. Our materials allow for a sustainable message to be used in upstream processes. Our materials also offer some physical advantages over wood but again, it just depends on the application. We are mostly a performant replacement or an alternative in specific industries where there are supply chain issues.”

Q: What kind of products come from pulped materials?

Natalie: “All kinds: paper, cardboard, tissue, toilet paper, paper cups, molded pulp packaging, regenerated cellulose fibers… those are the ones that come to mind, but there are plenty more. As long as the product needs some kind of paper product, pulping is there.”

Are you searching for a sustainable pulp option?

If you have any questions regarding our pulping capabilities or our natural materials, call 502.415.8505 or visit our contact page, linked below.

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