HC Deb 23 February 1953 vol 511 cc1699-700
3. Mr. Speir

asked the Minister of Materials whether his attention has been drawn to the growing use in the United States of America of bagasse as a raw material for the production of newsprint and paper; and whether, in view of the fact that half the world's bagasse is produced within the British Commonwealth, he will take steps to save dollar expenditure on importing newsprint by encouraging the more extensive import of this new raw material.

Sir A. Salter

I understand that experiments in the United States of America have established the technical possibility of successfully manufacturing newsprint, as well as other kinds of paper, from bagasse; but the possibility of producing them on a commercial scale has yet to be demonstrated. I am afraid, therefore, it is premature to consider saving expenditure of dollars on newsprint by using bagasse in this country for newsprint manufacture. I should add that I cannot accept my hon. Friend's statement as to the proportion of bagasse produced in the Commonwealth.

Mr. Speir

Is it not a fact that machinery in the British paper mills can employ this material without alteration? Is it not also a fact that paper produced by this method in America is of excellent quality? In view of the shortage of world newsprint owing to increasing literacy in Asia and Africa, is it not important to press on with this new material?

Sir A. Salter

Experiments are continuing, but at present undoubtedly the ordinary form of newsprint is cheaper than newsprint manufactured from bagasse.

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