In last couple of decades the paper industry has undergone a tremendous change. In the early 1980s, most of the paper units were using wood as raw material and both recycled and agro-based paper mills were in their nascent stage.
But gradually it got equally divided between wood, agro-based and recycled fiber.
Currently if we examine the present status, almost 77% of paper is made out of recycled fibre, about 7% from agro-based mills and the balance from wood-based mills.
The biggest change in the paper industry is visible in the production technology front. Right from the raw material preparation where hardly any pre-processing was done, the changes are significant. Almost all paper mills have shifted to pre-washing of fibrous raw materials,
Now there are fully operational chemical recovery plants as part of all the mills. Earlier this was ignored
During 1980s, the standard yield, that is, pulp to raw material production was taken as 32% that is to say that out of 1,000 kgs. of bone dry raw material 320 kg of bleached pulp would be produced. This is one area which has transformed during this period and starting from a low figure of 32% presently most of the agro-based mills are achieving above 45% yield which compares well even with wood-based mills.
Paper industry has shown reasonably good growth over the last 5 decades and present total production estimates to 24-million tonnes .
The packaging paper sector is contributing more than 60% to the total production, followed by cultural varieties of writing and printing paper, which contribute about 30% and balance is newsprint and other specialty papers like tissues.