Dissolving pulp

Pulp derived from wood is a sustainable, renewable resource. This FAQ about dissolving pulp explains how.

What is dissolving pulp?

Dissolving pulp (DP) is a purified cellulose pulp suitable for subsequent chemical conversion into a range of products. Cellulose – the most common biopolymer on earth – is the structural component of the cell walls of green plants. Verve is our brand of products made with DP.

What does ‘dissolving’ refer to?

Dissolved DP can be spun into textile fibres, cast into a film or regenerated into a sponge. Derivatisation of the DP without dissolution can also produce a wide range of products with different functionalities, e.g. cellulose ethers.

What is DP used for?

DP 91-95% cellulose content is mostly used to make viscose fibres for use in textiles. Higher cellulose content DP is used to make rayon yarn for industrial products such as the cord used in tyres, rayon staple for high-quality fabrics, acetate and other speciality products. Most of the DP Sappi produces is used to make cellulosic fibres – fashion and decorating textiles.

Is all DP the same?

No. Dissolving pulp quality is tailored to meet the functionality requirements of end-use applications. The cellulose chain length (viscosity) and the purity of the pulp (% cellulose) are mainly adjusted to meet customer requirements.

Where does Sappi produce DP?

Combined, our three DP mills on two continents can produce over 1.4 million tons per annum (tpa).

South Africa

  • Saiccor Mill: 890,000 tpa sulphite DP capacity. Acquired by Sappi in 1989, this mill has been manufacturing DP since 1955
  • Ngodwana Mill: 250,000 tpa kraft DP capacity since 2013

North America

  • Cloquet Mill: 370,000 tpa kraft DP capacity; can switch between DP and paper pulp

We continue to invest in all three of our world-class production sites – further entrenching Verve as the fibre of choice.

What is DP made from?

Both Saiccor and Ngodwana Mills use eucalyptus (hardwood) woodfibre sourced from responsibly-managed plantations in close proximity to the mills. Cloquet Mill uses mixed northern hardwoods: aspen (approximately 65%) and maple (35%).