Here's an astonishing number to digest. Each person in the United States uses about 700 pounds of paper each year. Paper is everywhere in our lives. Every year in the United States, more than 2 billion individual books, 24 billion newspapers, and 350 million magazines are published on paper.


  1. Tell the history of papermaking. Describe the part paper products play in our society and economy.
  2. List the trees that are major sources of papermaking fibers. Then discuss what other uses are made of the trees and of the forestland owned by the pulp and paper industry. Describe the ways the industry plants, grows, and harvests trees. Explain how the industry manages its forests so that the supply of trees keeps pace with the demand, and tell about one way the industry has incorporated a sustainable forestry concept. Give two ways the papermaking industry has addressed pollution.
  3. Describe two ways of getting fibers from wood, and explain the major differences. Tell why some pulps are bleached, and describe this process.
  4. Describe how paper is made. Discuss how paper is recycled. Make a sheet of paper by hand.
  5. Explain what coated paper is and why it is coated. Describe the major uses for different kinds of coated papers. Describe one other way that paper is changed by chemical or mechanical means to make new uses possible.
  6. Make a list of 15 pulp or paper products found in your home. Share examples of 10 such products with your counselor.
  7. With your parent's and counselor's approval, do ONE of the following:
    1. Visit a pulp mill. Describe how the mill converts wood to cellulose fibers.
    2. Visit a paper mill and get a sample of the paper made there. Describe the processes used for making this paper. Tell how it will be used.
    3. Visit a container plant or box plant. Describe how the plant's products are made.
    4. Visit a recycled paper collection or sorting facility. Describe the operations there.
    5. Using books, magazines, your local library, the Internet (with your parent's permission), and any other suitable research tool, find out how paper products are developed. Find out what role research and development play in the papermaking industry. Share what you learn with your counselor.
  8. Find out about three career opportunities in the papermaking industry that interest you. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.


Scouting Literature

Chemistry, Energy, Engineering, Environmental Science, Fish and Wildlife Management, Forestry, Graphic Arts, Soil and Water Conservation, and Textile merit badge pamphlets


  • Asuncion, Josep. The Complete Book of Papermaking. Sterling, 2003.
  • Couzins-Scott, Elizabeth. Papermaking. Anness Publishing Ltd., 2002.
  • Dawson, Sophie. The Art and Craft of Papermaking: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating Distinctive Handmade Paper. Sterling, 1997.
  • Draper, Allison Stark. Choosing a Career in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Rosen Publishing Group Inc., 2001.
  • Grummer, Arnold E. Arnold Grummer's Complete Guide to Easy Papermaking. Krause Publications, 1999.
  • Hiebert, Helen. The Papermaker's Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Making and Using Handmade Paper. Storey Books, 2000.
  • Rainey, Rhonda. Papermaking for the First Time. Sterling, 2005.
  • Reimer, Mary. 300 Papermaking Recipes. Martingale and Company, 2004.
  • Saddington, Marianne. Making Your Own Paper: An Introduction to Creative Paper-Making. Storey Books, 1992.
  • Saltman, David. Paper Basics: Forestry, Manufacture, Selection, Purchasing, Mathematics and Metrics, Recycling. Krieger Publishing, 1991.
  • Toale, Bernard. The Art of Papermaking. Davis Publications, 1983.
  • Woods, Samuel G. Recycled Paper: From Start to Finish. Blackbirch Press, 2000.