Pulp and Paper

Joe Mabel

About the Project

The Clean Energy Transition Institute, in collaboration with SEI-US, and under the direction of Derik Broekhoff, produced a Washington State Industrial Emissions Analysis for the Washington Department of Commerce in July 2021.

This Clean Materials Manufacturing project expanded upon that analysis for six manufacturing sectors—aluminum, concrete and cement, glass, iron and steel, pulp and paper, and wood products—to provide background material for Building Washington’s Clean Materials Manufacturing Economy.

You will find the pulp and paper sector documents below:

  1. Manufacturing Sector Overview: This document explores the industry’s greenhouse gas footprint, industrial process, decarbonization strategies, and Washington workforce.
  2. Emissions and Decarbonization Strategies: This flowchart shows each step of the industrial process along with the associated emissions and relevant decarbonization strategies.
  3. Manufacturing Energy and Carbon Footprint: This document, published by the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the Department of Energy, maps the flow of energy supply, demand, and losses as well as greenhouse gas emissions for the sector.

Pulp and Paper

Sector Highlights

Industry Description

Paper and paperboard manufacturing involves processing wood, recycled paper products, and other sources of cellulose fibers into pulp and ultimately into end-use paper products. Many pulp and paper facilities integrate the pulping and paper making processes, but some are standalone, or non-integrated, pulp mills or paper production facilities.

Greenhouse Gas Footprint

There are 13 pulp and paper facilities in Washington with over 10,000 metric tons in annual carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. Together, these pulp and paper facilities accounted for roughly 6.7 million metric tons of CO2e in 2019, 1  making pulp and paper Washington's highest emitting manufacturing sector of the six examined for this project (petroleum refining is the state's highest emitting industrial sector).

Industrial Process & Decarbonization

Producing paper products involves three main processes: pulping (turning wood into pulp), recovering chemicals for reuse, and papermaking. Over 80% of the energy consumed by the pulp and paper industry comes from boiler fuel, 2 largely to produce process steam. Energy efficiency improvements to steam systems, therefore, represent the most significant opportunities for energy savings and emissions reductions in pulp and paper mills. 3


The pulp and paper manufacturing industry directly supports over 7,000 workers in Washington.

1 Washington State Department of Ecology, “Facility Greenhouse Gas Reports,” accessed April 11, 2022, https://ecology.wa.gov/Air-Climate/Climate-change/Tracking-greenhouse-gases/Greenhouse-gas-reporting/Facility-greenhouse-gas-reports.

2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Available and Emerging Technologies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Industry” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010), https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-12/documents/pulpandpaper.pdf.

3 Klaas Jan Kramer et al., “Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opportunities for the Pulp and Paper Industry” (Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2009), https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/buildings/tools/Pulp_and_Paper_Energy_Guide.pdf.

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