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Many natural and synthetic resources go into the making a textbook. Since textbooks are made mostly of paper that in turn is made primarily of wood (biosphere), I will first consider the resources that help produce trees. A tree gets minerals (pedosphere) such as nitrate and phosphate salts from the soil, as well as from water (hydrosphere). The water also provides it with a solution in which salts can dissolve and are carried around the trees.

Trees also need air (atmosphere) because it provides them with carbon dioxide that is essential for photosynthesis, the process during which plants produce their own food – glucose that can be stored as starch and used for growth. The energy source for this process is solar energy, which is derived from nuclear fusion in the sun. Before trees are turned to paper, they need to be cut down. This is done by using tools such as axes or electric woodcutters made of steel and plastic for handles. It also uses oil for lubrications, fossil fuels such as diesel or petrol for running a motor.

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Once the trees are cut down, we need to transport it. This can be done either by land or by water. If there is a river close to the site, a ship made of metals such as steel, iron, and magnesium bars that prevent rusting through galvanization (lithosphere) can be utilized. The ship also uses rubber (biosphere) so that the does not hit the quay, plastic (lithosphere) for insulation from static electricity that can cause a fire due to sparks from friction with the sailors’ shoes, petrol for fueling the ship, and hemp (biosphere) for the anchor’s rope. Alternatively, a raft made of wood and ropes can be used to carry the wood downstream.

If the trees are to be transported by land, we can use either the railway or trucks. If the railway is used, we will be using wood and steel for the railway tracks. If the timber is transported on roads, we should remember that those are made of rocks (lithosphere) and stones (such as asphalt that can come from natural resources or be produced synthetically from impurities on crude oil (lithosphere)), tar, and cement that is made of lime, silica and aluminum (pedosphere). Both trains and trucks contain steel, paint, plastic, lubricating oil and use fossil fuels for energy.

Once the wood has been transporting to the papermaking factory, it is cut into chips using metal tools fueled by electricity either from fossil fuels or from renewable resources such as hydroelectric (hydrosphere) or geothermal energy. The chips are boiled using water and heat generated by electricity with chemicals that extract the pulp from the wood. Then the pulp is rinsed with chemicals like chlorine and other xenoestrogens (lithosphere and pedosphere) to bleach it. Once the pulp is converted to sheets, steam driers (hydrosphere) that use water vapor, heated by fossil fuels (lithosphere) are used to dry the sheets.

Clay (pedosphere) can be used to coat the paper and make it smoother. Electric cutters then cut the sheets of paper into the desired textbook size. The print on the paper can be achieved using different types of ink. This could be either biodegradable ink that is soy-based (biosphere) and also contains vegetable oils or non-biodegradable, synthetic, pigment-based one that contains petroleum, and hence easily adheres to the paper. Waxy substances may be used for the paper on the cover as this would make it glossier and hence more appealing to the buyers.

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