Management of Hazardous Paper Mill Wastes for Sustainable Agriculture

  • A. K. Sannigrahi
Living reference work entry


The papermaking has far-reaching environmental impacts due to the production of wastes in the form of sludge since that is creating major problems to soil, crop, and human health due to the presence of different toxic chemicals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, etc. India has about 700 pulp and paper mills, which are generally considered as most polluting industries. Different paper mills use different raw materials like bamboo, wood, paddy straw, waste papers, etc. The quality of effluents also varies with quality of inputs/raw materials as well as technical procedures followed in papermaking. Paper mill wastes are the residuals constituted with fibers produced from the pulping of raw materials but unsuitable for papermaking, paper sludge, lime sludge, inks, fly ash, clays, and other fillers developed in de-inking process. These solid wastes in some cases are utilized for energy generation, but in many places those are disposed of by dumping on land by the side of effluent channel. Management of these solid wastes for beneficial utilization is a great challenge not only to the management authority of paper industry but also the scientific community for finding out some amicable solutions. Since this solid waste contains a considerable quantity of organic matter, this must be utilized for some beneficial purposes. Vermicomposting is the rapid as well as cost-effective treatment method for recycling the organic solid waste through the action of earthworms. The worms act as an aerator, a grinder, a crusher, a chemical degrader, and a biological stimulator. Worms decompose the organic fraction in the sewage sludge, mineralize the nutrients, ingest the heavy metals, and devour the pathogens (bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and protozoa). Paper mill wastes are not easy material to compost and normally need both structural and nitrogen amendments using different organic matters like sawdust, fruit and vegetable wastes, food processing industry’s wastes, leaf litters, cow dung, pig wastes, poultry wastes, water hyacinth, municipal solid wastes, etc. before composting. Vermicomposting of paper mill wastes is not only a value addition to problematic wastes but also its beneficial utilization for sustaining organic agriculture. It helps to reduce the problem of environment pollution and creates an opportunity for employment generation.


Earthworm Energy recovery Hazardous waste Heavy metals Landfill Land spreading Paper mill wastes Pulp and paper mill sludge Social benefits Sustainable agriculture Vermicomposting Waste quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. K. Sannigrahi
    • 1
  1. 1.Proof & Experimental Establishment (PXE)Defence Research & Development OrganizationBalasoreIndia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Chaudhery Mustansar Hussain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Environmental SciencesNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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