Recently, there has been a push to be more environmentally friendly when manufacturing products and performing services in almost every industry. The paper industry has seen many advances that will lessen its impact on the environment. A breakthrough came recently when researchers at the University of British Columbia designed trees that are simpler to process into paper and biofuel products.
A particular polymer known as lignin complicates the processing of pulp, paper, and biofuel. The removal of lignin from wood requires numerous chemicals, energy, and produces excess waste. Due to this, researchers can now use genetic engineering processes to rework the lignin so that it is easier to remove without sacrificing the trees strength. Additionally, the genetically engineered trees can be processed with less energy and chemicals.
Although this is a groundbreaking accomplishment in wood and paper production, some environmental groups are against this new process. According to the Sierra Club, new genetically engineered trees could contaminate natural trees that are already growing in forests. Environmental groups also argue that the best way to be environmentally friendly is to reduce our reliance on paper products.
Ultimately, the breakthrough at the University of British Columbia could have a major impact of the paper and wood industries. The issue does spark a great debate between manufacturing and special interest groups. Many people and industries will be playing close attention to this research of the coming years.
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