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Handling Odour and Fumes in Paper and Cardboard Production

Posted on 26th February 2020

Many businesses in the paper and cardboard industry are currently playing a key role in the rising levels of air pollution. Your business might be one of them.

If so, we have sketched up a brief guide, full of tips and insights, that will help you to securely clamp down on the harmful emissions your business operations release into the atmosphere.

However, before we delve deep into the ways you can stop playing a part in air pollution, we need first to understand what kind of emissions cardboard and paper production release into the atmosphere.

When paper and cardboard businesses emit fumes, dust, smoke and gases, many different types of harmful emissions escape into the air. Some examples include:

  • Solvents
  • Oxides of nitrogen
  • Particulates and dust
  • Formaldehydes
  • Chloroform
  • Odorous substances

Thankfully, however, there are ways in which producers of paper and cardboard can limit their environmental damage:


How to clamp down on your air pollution

  1. Comply with your permit conditions

Does your business carry an environmental permit? If yes, then a good place to start would be to make sure your business adheres to the conditions stated in that permit. Use your permit as a guideline.

More likely than not, you will find some conditions relating to odour and air emissions in your permit.

Furthermore, your environmental permit may also include extensive information on substances such as:

  • Halogens – e.g. fluorine and chlorine
  • Particulates – e.g. dust and PM10
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – e.g. formaldehyde
  • NOx
  • SOx
  1. Adhere to chimney and boiler requirements

Is your business currently operating a boiler? If yes, then you’ll have many strict requirements to meet regarding air pollution.

Make sure that there is not a bonfire or chimney emitting large amounts of dark smoke on your site.

Some businesses can receive an exemption from this requirement, but only if they release emissions that do not stir nuisance or damage health.

It is in your best interest to ensure that your business processes do not produce high levels of smoke, dust or odour.

Why? Well, health-related issues aside, if your emissions cause a nuisance to a nearby community, your local authority holds the right to:

  • Set restrictions on your business operations
  • Stop your business operations
  • Oblige you to reduce the nuisance


  1. Keep an eye out for fluorinated gases (F-gases) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS)

F-gases are powerful gases that play a key role in climate change. Does your business handle or use F-gases? Then you’ll need to adhere to strict regulations.


Examples of products containing F-gases:

  • Solvents
  • Fire protection equipment
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration equipment

You must always keep an eye out for ozone-depleting substances. In most cases, you shouldn’t use ODS for solvent application or degreasing.


Examples of ODS

  • Bromochloromethane
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

Good practices

Some more good practices that will help you to reduce the level of bad odour, dust and fumes your business produces are:

  • Make sure to damp down areas on your site that are very dusty
  • To prevent the emission of hazardous substances in water vapour, reduce water vapour with a ventilator
  • Install chemical recovery systems to capture chemicals in exhaust gases
  • Form effective systems to control, survey, measure and clamp down on dust emissions
  • During finishing, filter and extract dust-contaminated air
  • To prevent emissions of odorous substances, use filtered extraction hoods on paper machines

No doubt about it, all of the above tips can help you to lessen your business’ negative impact on the environment.

However, here at Parsons, we also have our own solution to the problem of reducing air pollution.

To help many businesses tone down their airborne emissions, we apply the use of a method called wet scrubbing.

Our team of expert engineers can install wet scrubbers on your site individually, or we can deliver wet scrubbers to your site as part of an odour abatement package.


How can wet scrubbing help?

When molecules, fume and odour enter gas streams, they tend to disperse easily and, in doing so, make gas streams harder to treat. Wet scrubbing helps you to resolve this problem.

Wet scrubbers are efficient air pollution control devices that can help you to remove the gases and particles in your industrial exhaust streams.

In wet scrubbing, the wet scrubber brings the dirty gas stream into contact with a scrubbing liquid (usually water). What happens next is the scrubbing liquid will then capture the polluted gases and particulates.


Want to find out more about how our wet scrubbing solutions can help you clamp down on your air pollution? You can learn more here.

We are Parsons. Want to find out more about who we are and what we do? Click here, or alternatively, get in touch today to discuss your requirements.

Our selection of rental options is unique to the sector and can help you achieve legislatorial compliance faster while spreading the cost, with one easy solution.

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