Century Pulp & Paper focuses on sustainable manufacturing

Bullish about paper-based packing

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Sunesh Yadav of Century Pulp & Paper at Innopack Pharma Confex 2019
Sunesh Yadav of Century Pulp & Paper at Innopack Pharma Confex 2019

Century Pulp & Paper (CPP), a BK Birla Group company, has been focusing on sustainable manufacturing and has invested Rs 120 crore in its effluent treatment plant at its manufacturing unit in Uttarakhand. The company is a leading producer of writing and printing paper, tissue and paperboard, as well as Rayon Grade Pulp (RGP) products.

“A few years ago we faced some issues with the authorities and that is when we realized that if we have to be in business for the long haul, we will have to focus on sustainability in terms of solid and water waste management as well as wood procurement,” says Sunesh Yadav, general manager – Sales (Board), Century Pulp & Paper during the recently concluded Innopack Pharma Confex 2019 that was held in Mumbai.

The company has managed to improve the efficiency of primary clarifier through effectively removal of suspended solids by installation of Bellmer screw press from Germany. Due to this, primary sludge dryness increased from 2% to 55-60% and this sludge is used for suitable board grade.

Century has also installed diffusers aeration system in activated sludge process (ASP) to increase DO level and to maintain required Bio-mass for reduction of COD/BOD in treated waste water. Other than this, Century has invested on MBBR process and chemical treatment after diffusers based activated sludge process to further reduce color of the treated water along with COD/BOD. Significant reduction in COD/BOD and color of waste water measured after tertiary clarifier, says Yadav.

The company has also managed to reduce water consumption by 40% through various water conservation scheme based on 3R principle i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle of waste water.

Robust growth in demand for paper in the packaging sector

For Century Pulp & Paper, packaging segment is an important business area. Out of its total output of 38,000 tons per month, about 40% production is of paperboard and 50% of the total paperboard output goes into packaging applications.

“The packaging sector today cannot be ignored as the growth rate is very robust. Demand for mono cartons in pharma applications as well as demand for paper boxes and cartons in the food segment is very robust. Also, the demand for items like paper cups is also coming up fast. However, the growth of VAP grades in the food packaging segment is higher than in the pharma sector,” Yadav says.

According to him, with ban on single use plastic packaging, food brands are increasingly opting for paper boxes and similar packaging solutions. “With rising income and busy lifestyles, young people are ordering food from outside frequently and with the arrival of applications like Swiggy and Zomato, there will be further growth for paper packaging solutions in the food sector,” he argues.

Challenges

Although demand for paper-based packaging is growing in India, there are still some significant challenges. Paper and paper board manufacturers are dependent on imported pulp for certain types of grades. This exposes them to a lot of uncertainties due to dependency on imported pulp prices.

“Since for some grades we need to depend on imports, we have get exposed to a lot of price fluctuation like it happened in the last year. This creates uncertainty in one of the major raw material components and that is a big challenge. I think at this moment we will have to live with this as there are no alternatives at this point of time,” he says.

Availability of pulp able wood is also becoming a challenge due to the demand of wood from other industry like laminates (plywood).

“The company is putting a lot of effort in this area to ensure a consistent supply of wood on a long term basis and encouraging local farmers for wood plantation by ensuring minimum support price (MSP) to farmers at par with other crops so that farmers increase plantations,” Yadav concludes.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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