Mondi gears up for the start of new specialty kraft paper machine

Set to revolutionize European paper-based shopping bag market

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Mondi
Image: Mondi

Mondi, a global enterprise in packaging and paper, has started up its new specialty kraft paper machine at its Štětí mill in the Czech Republic. The EUR 67 million (approximately Rs 595 crore) investment in the machine makes it Europe’s first dedicated paper machine for specialty kraft paper grades made out of fresh and recycled fiber for retail and online shopping bags.

The paper machine will produce up to 130,000 tonnes of specialty kraft paper per year, meaning Mondi will have the largest product portfolio for consumer shopping bags in Europe. This includes white and brown virgin grades and now recycled paper grades that can be used in a range of bag applications from fashion stores to online grocery platforms and home deliveries. The EcoVantage two-ply paper produced on the new machine consists of recycled and sustainably sourced fresh fibers and is 100% recyclable.

The European specialty kraft paper market is expected to grow strongly driven by legislation to eliminate waste caused by plastic shopping bags and consumer preference to move away from single-use plastic.

Kalle Taari, head of Strategy and Product Management Kraft Paper, Mondi, says, “We want to offer converters and brand owners sustainable, 100% recyclable paper-based products for their retail and online shopping packaging. The papers produced on this machine will offer recycled fiber-based products with a natural look, great printability, and strength properties, all pre-requisites for consumer shopping bags. We are excited to be rolling out several options from our EcoVantage range throughout 2021.”

The paper produced will have a trim width of 4.4 meter, with a substance range from 70 gram to 135 gram. The EcoVantage range can be produced with predominantly fresh fiber-based material and also offers combinations of fibers composed of up to 100% pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. Best combination of fresh and recycled fibers is available to offer required strength to hold groceries and fashion goods. Fibers are sourced from sustainably managed forests.

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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