Making the pulp and paper industry sustainable

8th CII - national conference on Pulp and Paper - 2023

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The sustainable use of water in the pulp and paper industry and advanced technology in papermaking was the center of discussions at the 8th CII national conference on pulp and paper held in New Delhi on 14 July 2023. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized the event in partnership with CII-Triveni Water Institute at India Habitat Center in New Delhi.

In his opening statement, SVR Krishnan, executive director, Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL), highlighted the sustainable use of water by focusing on 4Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover. He said the management system in the Indian pulp and paper industry lags in comparison to elsewhere in the world. “Crisis management in India is excellent but system management, which is the need of the hour, is where it fails.”

Just like other sectors have adopted artificial intelligence and digitization, the pulp and paper industry should also invest in similar skills to optimize efficiency, said Pawan Agarwal, president of the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA). “We as an industry should invest in skillful humans or should help in developing the right skills for the efficient and better yield of paper with the help from AI and digitization,” said Pawan Agarwal, president, of IPMA.

Agarwal appealed to the government to allot degraded land to the paper industry for plantation and extraction of timber, which will benefit both the paper and wood industries.

Use of technology

Driven by changing lifestyles and economic growth, paper consumption is growing worldwide and this trend is expected to continue in the future. So for the business sustainability of the pulp and paper industry, companies need to adopt practices to help them become more efficient and competitive, another expert said. “Technologies for sustainable water consumption and efficient yield of the products are available. However, choosing the right technology is important to make it eco-friendly,” said Rajesh Sharma, managing director, Ion Exchange India.

The participants had a chance to see the recovery boiler advisor (RBA) leak detection system presented by Girish Dattatraya Paraspatki, product manager, Buckman Laboratories. It analyzes and compares data with its highly accurate mass balance-based leak detection system, giving boiler operators updated information four times a minute.

Sustainable solutions

Talking about the solutions for a blue and green future, Akhilendra Verma, product manager, Parason Machinery, put forward the idea of using molded fiber as an alternative to single-use plastic. “As reported by the UN, by 2050, we will see more plastic in the ocean than fish. Molded fiber can be a great alternative to food plastic waste.”

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(L-R) Pawan Agarwal, president, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association
(IPMA); SVR Krishnan, executive director, Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL); Rajesh Sharma, managing director, Ion Exchange India; Kapil Narula
CEO, CII Water Institute.
Courtesy- IPP

According to Pawan Agarwal, groundwater should be used only for human consumption and industries depending on groundwater for their mills have to find some other efficient solutions for the production processes.

Ashok Kumar Singh, vice-president, Andhra Paper, emphasized the need for regular water audits, “Water audits give the benchmark of the amount consumed. It can easily show the point you have started from and where you’re leading to. It can be helpful for planning.” “If you are not measuring, you are not improving,” Singh said.

A better future

The industry for paper as a means for writing and printing is declining but the packaging industry is increasing, and so we need to implement advanced technology to move towards a sustainable, blue and greener tomorrow,” said Krishnan.

In spite of the digital revolution, the paper industry in India has an encouraging future ahead in the backdrop of the government’s emphasis on increasing literacy rate and the ban on plastic and polythene,” said Manoj Kumar Gupta, director, Central Pulp & Paper Research Institute (CPPRI).

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

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