THE PRODUCTION OF PAPERS FROM TEA CHAFFS
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This project reports the production of papers from tea chaffs collected from the Ndawara tea estate, located in the Ngoketunjia Division, North West Region of Cameroon.
This study was carried out to solve an environmental problem due to the burning of tea chaffs and also to suggest an alternative by using these chaffs in paper production which will lead to the reduction of the cost of tea production in the Ndawara tea estate.
Questionnaires were used to acquire information on the use of tea chaffs after production. Answers to these questionnaires were provided by certain workers. The main aim was to produce papers from tea chaffs using the chemical method.
The chemical method entailed the cooking of tea chaffs with sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide at high temperature and pressure. This caused the depolymerization of lignin from wood setting free the hemicellulose fibres. After washing and bleaching, a wooden mould was used to mould out the papers to desired sizes and dried.
The paper obtained was hard and flexible mostly used for making cartoons. The specific findings of this research were successful. It was found that the tea chaffs were burnt and some were consumed as food by certain persons.
It was also found that this tea chaffs could be recycled and transformed into cartoons which could be used for the packaging of tea, hence reducing the cost of production. Tea chaffs like any other softwood can be regarded as a good source of fibres for the paper-making factories.
Pulping is the process of making papers from wood (soft or hard). Paper is chiefly used for written communication. The earliest paper was papyrus, made from reeds by the ancient Egyptians. The Chinese were involved in papermaking by the second century, probably by a Chinese court official named Cai Lun. His paper was made from such things as tree bark and old fish netting.
Recognized almost immediately as a valuable secret, it was 500 years before the Japanese acquired knowledge of the method (Kleiner, 1980). Papermaking was known in the Islamic world from the end of the eighth century A.D.
Knowledge of papermaking eventually moved westward and the first European paper mill was built at Jativa, in the province of Valencia, Spain, in about 1150. By the end of the 15th century, paper mills existed in Italy, France, Germany and England, and by the end of the 16th century, the paper was being made throughout Europe (Kleiner, 1980).
In the past, many factories made use of hardwood for making papers. But due to certain environmental concerns and the advent of technology many engineers have developed adequate means to produce papers from recycled waste papers and softwood like tea chaffs.
Many industries turn to release softwood chaffs as sugarcane chaffs from the sugar industry, tea chaffs from the tea industry and waste papers from homes and offices. These chaffs were burnt to generate energy (Kleiner, 1980). Nowadays these chaffs can be recycled for paper production (Kleiner, 1980).
NDAWARA being one of the industries in Cameroon involved in tea production releases enormous waste as tea chaffs. The chaffs are further burnt to releasing smoke which constitutes an environmental threat.
Some of the chaffs are sent to the northern region of Cameroon which is consumed as food. Nevertheless, used papers like newspapers, writing papers, packaging papers from offices, schools,
shops and homes are burnt or dumped on land fields. In NDAWARA, semi-finished papers (craft papers) are bought from India for making cartoons in a similar process to the recycling process which are used for packaging and office use as a result increases the cost of production.
The reasons why we should encourage NDAWARA in transforming tea chaffs into paper are as follows:
- The smoke released into the atmosphere from the tea chaffs burning could render breathing difficult. The gaseous pollutants could form acid rain during precipitation killing useful soil bacterial. Random disposition of papers could make the environment unhealthy for living and dirty;
- The number of hardwood trees cut nowadays in order to make paper is enormous. This calls for an environmental concern;
- The fact that craft papers are bought to make cartoons in NDAWARA for packaging increases the cost of production.
The chaffs being burnt and eaten as food could rather be transformed into pulp.
In the frame of obtaining a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, it is demanded to each student to present a project at the end of the study as a partial accomplishment in the requirements of the above-mentioned certificate.
It’s in this sense that research was carried out in NDAWARA tea estate based on “The production of paper from tea chaffs”. This enabled us to develop adequate, low cost and modern techniques on how to transform the chaff to usable papers and cartoons that can be used for writing and packaging.
The main objective of this work is to produce papers from tea chaffs and recycled papers.
The Specific objectives are;
To reduce the cost of tea production by avoiding the importation of craft papers used in making cartoons.
- To reduce environmental pollution
- To reduce the use of hardwood trees destruction by introducing the use of softwood trees like tea chaffs to make pulp
- To create more job opportunities for the youths in this sector of production