Sustainability of Paper & Sugar Industries via Molasses: Novel Green Nanocomposites from Upgraded Recycled Cellulose Fibers
The present work leads to sustainability (responsible management of resources consumption) of both paper and sugar industries. It, simultaneously, upgrades recycled waste paper (namely old newsprint) and creates a new use for molasses (an important byproduct of the sugar industry). This study introduces -for the first time world wide- a novel environmentally safe approach to upgrade recycled natural cellulose fibers (waste paper namely old newsprint), for use as specialty paper green
... er green nanocomposites suitable for several advanced purposes. The recycled cellulose fibers are upgraded by increasing their alpha cellulose content, and restoring their natural nanoporous structure, which is -normally- collapsed due to the first cycle of papermaking. Molasses is then incorporated into this restored nanoporous structure to obtain paper green nanocomposites filled with kaolin in presence of molasses. In comparison to conventionally recycled waste paper, the green paper nanocomposites -produced in this work- exhibit high dry and wet strength, and a surprisingly tremendous retention of inorganic fillers used in papermaking. This was achieved through a green nanotechnology process, where the solvent used is water (the ideal green solvent). The input and output components are renewable environmentally safe materials i.e. waste paper (cellulose fibers) and molasses (a by product of the sugar industry). The procedures used are simple physical processes conducted at room temperature rather than hazardous chemical reactions. Thus, saving energy, and decreasing the risk of chemical and thermal accidents, pollutive releases, explosions, and fires.