CPI Director of Raw Materials: '2015 annus horribilis for UK paper industry'
In a recent article published on Resource Magazine, Simon Weston, Director of Raw Materials at the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), provided an interesting insight on the problematic situation of UK paper industry.
"Last year was an annus horribilis for paper manufacturing in the UK", highlighted Mr Weston. "Whilst the industry has invested heavily in new machinery over the past decade, improving energy efficiency and reducing its environmental footprint, 13 paper machines were closed in 2015 with the loss of close to 900 kilotonnes (Kt) of capacity."
Many factors affected the industry performance, including changes in demanded products, new social trends and market fluctuations. "Since 2000, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in demand for newsprint and a 30 per cent decrease in demand for printing and writing papers, reflecting the increasing popularity of digital media. On the other hand, demand for hygiene products such as tissues has risen by nearly 15 per cent."
Mr Weston focused his analysis on recovered paper, underlining how "domestic mill consumption fell to 3.36 million tonnes, down nearly 400Kt, and the excess was absorbed by export markets, which grew to 4.9 million tonnes [...] The UK is now very dependent upon export markets and is therefore vulnerable to issues such as fluctuating demand in the world economy and quality. For the first time last year, Chinese mills became bigger users of British recovered paper than the UK itself."
Another issue derived from recovered paper quality: "Despite 65 per cent of post-domestic collection now being co-mingled, the MRF Code of Practice appears moribund with neither the level of participation nor the average contamination in output material reflecting a high-quality performance."
To read the complete article click here.