„Last man standing“
This scenario for an industry in distress drew on the occasion of the specialized event of the paper industry on 3/4 September in Munich. The PTS-Coating Symposium began with a debate about the scenarios of an industry losing 4% per year. Even drastic efficiency measures, which have an increase of 19%, only help on a temporary basis, according to analyzes. Digitization threatens to kill the paper.
How can an invention of the paper industry look like, how recycling processes, coatings, paints and prints should be designed so that a true circularity can be produced. The volume of this order for Germany can be easily described on the basis of this picture. In total, around 5 million tonnes of deinking waste are being released from the paper lifecycle process streams, which must be re-integrated.
Occasionally there are hot spots of innovation dedicated to this task. These include the VTT at Aalto University in Helsinki. Here, various forms of coatings or barrier papers are developed to replace plastics, especially in food packaging. Or the project “Innovative structured polysaccharides-based materials for recyclable and biodegradable flexible packaging”, which a young team at sherpack has addressed.
Also at the University of Lisbon, Professor Rodrigo Ferrao de Paiva Martins is working on replacing Silicon with paper. After all, Prof. Martins is the president of the European Academy of Science EurAsc. This makes it clear that paper as a renewable resource is not only suitable for cartons or clothing, furniture or decorative items, but also as a building material or for high technology.
Paper will survive. Innovations such as the new printing technology from REEP will certainly ensure this. Here the paper is used five times in the printer. And we can continue to use paper and love it. For that it has proven itself for thousands of years as a good storage medium.
These product ideas are now being tracked and expanded. The industry plans to set up its own future workshop as a model factory. We can look forward to seeing how the innovation is driven forward here and continue to report.