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Is the paper industry ready to meet the new demands? PRC panel discusses

The panel discussion on ‘The paper value chain within Asia and beyond – Meeting the new demands’ at the Paper Recycling Confex reflected on the collection, recycling rate and the demand for recovered fibre in the Middle East &  Africa and Asia.  

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March 14 2023
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The session was moderated by Deep Saraf, Partner, Nice Imports. Ritesh Gupta, Sales & Accounts Manager, Ittihad Paper Mill LLC, said in the UAE, the collection of used cartons is robust but not significant enough to make an impact in the value chain. 

The panelists unanimously agreed that post-COVId, the demand for recovered fibre is growing, but the fluctuation in pricing is a hassle. 

Speaking about the African trend, Nadim Mawji, CEO, Kamongo Waste Paper Kenya, noted the recycling rate in Africa is just about 24 per cent, with Kenya’s rate being 30 per cent, adding, “The EPR initiatives that the government currently looks at will enhance the recovery and quality of recovered paper.” Kenyan paper mills may resort to import to meet the demands. Africa's population is growing fast, there is a need to ramp up waste management initiatives. 

Wade Schuetzeberg, Founder, Way Forward Enterprises, said the recycling rate in the U.S. and Europe is moderate and that there is much room for improvement. 

“In India, the supply is more than the demand. In fact, it is the hub of surplus production,” said Dipesh Laddha, Director, Kalpataru. He added that the country should  invest in technology to enhance the quality of recovered fibre. “India has a lot of potential to be a leader in the finished paper market. Not only is it strategically located, the country has also improved its production capabilities.”  

Rajasekar V, Vice President, Keryas Paper Industry LLC, emphasised the need to incentivise people to collect and segregate, adding that collection has improved in the Middle East. Commenting on the current trend, he said the demand for packaging grade has gone up in the MENA region.