ECF Bleaching

ITC Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division commissioned India's first Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) pulp bleaching line in 2002, followed by another line incorporating the Light ECF process in 2007, at Unit Bhadrachalam.

Conventionally, elemental chlorine is used in the bleaching process during paper manufacture. The by-products of this process include a large number of organochlorine chemicals, which are toxic and adversely impact the environment. Elemental chlorine bleaching releases enormous quantities of carcinogenic toxins, amongst them dioxin and furans, into the environment. Dioxin, a known carcinogen, will leave detectable residues in any product that has been bleached with any type of chlorine bleach.

ECF uses chlorine dioxide for the bleaching of wood pulp. It does not use elemental chlorine gas during the bleaching process and limits the level of dioxins and furans in the pulp to less than 1 PPT (parts per trillion). This produces healthier, non-contaminating and odour-free food grade packaging material.

The Bhadrachalam Unit started Ozone Bleaching, in 2007. The Unit manufactures and uses pulp made from the ozone bleaching process known as the light ECF process. The use of ozone technology significantly reduces the load of toxins in the effluent discharged, and results in a brighter, stronger product that is environmentally responsible. 

The Ozone Bleaching technology has led to a reduction in chlorine dioxide and hydrogen peroxide consumption, along with better pulp quality, improved strength properties and reduction in AOX (Adsorbable Organic Halides) generation.