Wastes, example, straw, are prehydrolyzed to convert pentosanes, starches, and hemicelluloses to monosaccharides; the remaining pulp is 50% cellulose. Thus, dry wheat straw 0.8 kg was treated with 10 L of 0.3% aqueous HCl at 5-5.5 atm and 145/sup 0/ and a space velocity of 0.55 L/min, washed with dry steam, followed by water at 120 to 130/sup 0/, and more dry steam, and compressed at 25 kg/cm/sup 2/ to yield a product containing 45 to 50 wt % water. The sugar solution obtained (1394 L) contained 1.34 wt % reducing sugars, a straw hydrolysis of 23 wt %, and comprised xylose 74.3, mannose 5.2, arabinose 11.8, glucose 5.9, galactose 2.9%, and furfural 0.16 g/L. The cellulose residue had a dry weight of 0.545 kg. a yield of 68.2 wt % and contained cellulose 53.1, hemicelluloses 12.6%, lignin 22.1, ash and extractables 12.2%. The degree of polymerization was 805 glucose units.