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Specialty Chemicals: Enhancing Productivity, Quality, Value Addition and Environmental Sustainability

IPPTA’s workshop and seminar held during 19-20 July, 2019, at Resort Rio, Goa, focused on specialty chemicals – how they can enhance productivity, quality, value addition and environmental sustainability. During the technical sessions at the seminar, the participants presented detailed information on various aspects of papermaking.

Presenting seminar highlights, M. K. Goyal, General Secretary, IPPTA, said, “The year 2018 was a wonderful period for the paper industry. Production, sales, and realizations were high and capacity utilization was at its best. The trade war between USA and China pushed the latter to impose restrictions on import of waste paper, which gave India an opportunity to tap the global market. However, the paper industry in India, especially the packaging sector, could not avail itself of this opportunity because of issues like ‘hoarders’ and ‘strength’.

“Many mills are manufacturing packaging grade paper with zero-liquid discharge. If mills don’t adhere to the environmental norms, they will find themselves beset with all sorts of problems. The industry, fortunately, has been partially successful in resolving the environmental issue through specialty chemicals.

“As you already know, we are having a discussion on the topic, ‘Specialty Chemicals and Solutions to the Industry’. The global market for specialty chemicals is $25 billion, while India stands at just $1 billion. However, of this $1 billion, 30 percent (Rs 2000 crores) is for specialty chemicals. While the global market for specialty chemicals is growing at a CAGR of 3 percent, the market in India is expected to grow at a higher rate.”

Sanjay K. Singh, President-IPPTA and Divisional
Chief Executive- ITC Limited, PSPD

In his presidential address, Sanjay K. Singh, President-IPPTA and Divisional Chief Executive- ITC Limited, PSPD, said, “Till a few years ago, the pulp and paper industry in India was condemned for being a water guzzler. In the last 10 years or so, there has been a lot of change in the operations undertaken by the pulp and paper industry. Water consumption has been cut down from 250-300 cubic meters to 30-40 cubic meters. Quite a few mills have achieved zero-liquid discharge but still the industry is blamed for guzzling huge amounts of water. Also, the industry is again and again held accountable for deforestation. The industry must, therefore, speak in one voice to support itself and to tell the world that it is environment-friendly.

Recently, we published a book that gives insights into the myths about the Eucalyptus. There is a great myth that the Eucalyptus is big water guzzler. Indeed, the Eucalyptus does require water to grow but it thrives on dry soil by conserving and not guzzling ground water. Eucalyptus plantation water use has been found to be 785 liters/kg of the total biomass, which is one of the lowest if compared with species such as the Acacia (1,323 liters/kg), the Dalbergia (1,484 liters/kg) and agricultural crops such as paddy rice (2,000 liters/kg) and cotton (3,200 liters/kg). It should be noted that eucalyptus plantations under the agro/farm forestry programs are not water guzzlers as is wrongly perceived by some.

“Campaigns are being run around the world to make workplaces paperless and to rebut the claim that papermaking is sustainable. Let me tell you that the paper industry is the only industry that is engaged in tree plantation. Around 150,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantation is raised every year, which creates around 70 million man-days of employment in rural areas. The annual net income for farmers from eucalyptus plantation is more than that from almost 60 to 70 percent of agriculture crops.

“More than many other industries, the pulp and paper industry plays an important role in sustainable development because its chief raw material—wood fiber—is renewable. The industry provides an example of how a resource can be managed to provide a sustained supply to meet society’s current and future needs.

“Energy conservation and the use of fossil-fuel alternatives also play an indirect but significant role in environmental stewardship in the pulp and paper industry. The standard practice of using bark and wood waste and black liquor as fuel eliminates around 50 percent of the demand for fossil fuel in integrated pulp and paper mills.

“The idea of using specialty chemicals to improve efficiency and reduce pollution is a constructive idea. Specialty paper chemicals help reduce the consumption of water and energy, push up the use of wastepaper, and save raw materials by reducing paper weight without sacrificing the functional or optical properties of paper. They also increase the speed of paper machines.”

Maneesh Kumar, Vice President-Manufacturing
& Supply Chain, India Toothbrush, Colgate-
Palmolive India Limited

In his keynote address, Maneesh Kumar, Vice President-Manufacturing & Supply Chain, India Toothbrush, Colgate-Palmolive India Limited, said, “Colgate-Palmolive focuses mainly on personal, oral and homecare products along with pet nutrition. It is a leading provider of scientifically proven oral care products, such as tooth paste, tooth powder, mouthwash, tooth brushes and dental gels. It also provides personal care products like shower gels, liquids and hand washes under the Palmolive brand name.

“There is a video clip that questions the use of cartons in toothpaste packing. A sequence in it shows toothpaste tubes being shipped without the cartons. We feel that cartons help in keeping products safe during transportation. But we always keep sustainability in mind. We are fully committed to converting plastic into a more sustainable alternative. As part of our strategy, we have already moved to 100 percent recycle plastic in the production of our toothbrush and some of our home care and personal care products.

“Our R&D team is trying to find ways and means of using paper to remove plastic from our products. We have done a lot of work in the area of paperboard where we worked with our suppliers – converters and printers – in order to add strength to the board and introduce certain innovations to our products so that the consumption of board could be reduced.

“In today’s world, environment and sustainability are of paramount importance. More and more companies are now focusing on sustainability initiatives, which include recycling, reuseing and reduceing. As a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, we attach a lot of importance to sustainability. We are looking forward to seeing a higher content of recycled paper and board in our packaging department. To support the sustainability initiative, most of our packaging has moved from virgin materials to recycle materials.

“Most of the paper mills in India have already started using high-grade recycling materials to produce board, and more and more Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) are being pressed into service. However, odor in paper, especially kraft paper, poses a big problem for the paper industry. Use of specialty chemicals should, therefore, be encouraged to remove odor from paper.

To enhance product quality, we constantly improve the process of conversion of paper and paper wood into low ink absorbing substrate and develop high board stiffness with low board GSM. We also focus on improving paperboard gloss. We usually use UV-based varnishing; when we use aqueous-based varnish coating, the gloss level goes down.

The pulp and paper industry must make transparent and translucent paper that can enable the FMCG sector to go for creative packaging. We expect the paper industry to come up with more innovative solutions. For example, kraft backboard and synthetic board should be introduced. How can we make board packaging for FMCG products more sustainable and environment-friendly? – that is the question.

Chief Guest Ashraf Nathani, Managing Director,
Mehali Papers Pvt. Ltd.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest Ashraf Nathani, Managing Director, Mehali Papers Pvt. Ltd., said, “My background is in Testliner and Fluting. I had very little to do with chemicals until a few years ago. When we checked our ERP system, we were surprised to see that we used 5 to 6 chemicals in the entire mill. We have codes of 114 chemicals in the mill, of which 9 are in use. That proves how important specialty chemicals are for papermaking. The use of specialty chemicals helps in adding certain features to the product. Chemicals have a huge differentiation index; and if we look at the overall mill cost, chemicals are not big in amount but can have a huge impact on operations. Of course, chemicals are expensive but we need to remember that price is what you pay and value is what you get. At Mehali Papers, we have benefitted a lot from the use of some specialty chemicals – benefits such as better machine runnability, higher yields, and lower water consumption.”

P. S. Patwari, Vice President-IPPTA and Executive
Director & CEO- Emami Paper Mills Limited

Delivering the vote of thanks on the occasion, P. S. Patwari, Vice President-IPPTA and Executive Director & CEO- Emami Paper Mills Limited, said, “As a representative of the pulp and paper industry in India, I am thankful for the suggestions and observations shared by Maneesh Kumar. I will share the information about the challenges faced by the FMCG sector and the other business sectors with the entire paper industry and work with the industry towards attaining sustainable goals in the area of packaging paper.”

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