Perfect Storm for Paper Manufacturers  - why plastic waste is to blame for paper price increases.


Everyone will remember those global images of discarded plastic waste choking seabirds and marine life and the “plastic iceburgs”  floating in our seas.


About 150 million tons of plastic are already floating in our oceans with an additional eight million tons entering the water each year.


Researchers recently said a vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean was bigger than previously thought and was now bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined.  We have no way of disposing of, or recycling it and it will never go away.


Huge food and drink manufacturers and high street supermarket chains are being forced to look at alternative forms of packaging.  A re-useable, sustainable, environmentally friendly and easily recyclable alternative. We already have the very thing – pulp.  The stuff that is also used to make paper. 


 Fuelled by its ever-expanding uses in new and existing markets, such as hygiene and tissue products, as well as the backlash against plastic with manufacturers seeking paper-based alternatives, cellulose pulp demand and subsequent prices have gone through the roof.  Another major factor is quite simply that the mills would prefer to provide pulp for all these uses, rather than cut paper, because they make more money for less cost.  It also means that there is a huge squeeze on the supply of cut paper, as the mills have converted paper machines to make other things, like cardboard and they have happily increased their prices to fulfil demand.


There is ongoing development of new pulp mills around the world but until these are completed there doesn’t look like being any let-up in supply issues.


Added to this, paper manufacturers all report that continued increases in raw materials costs such as chemicals and fillers as well as logistics and energy, with some stating the cost increases had offset or partially offset their higher selling prices. 




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