If something is illustrating the current shortage in paper it is the rising costs of recovered paper. The chart shows German recovered paper prices – indexed for 2015 as 100%. China, once the main destination of recovered paper closed their borders for most waste materials in 2018 – which includes most recovered paper. This sent recovered paper prices into a tailspin. The bottom was reached during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, when everything came to a standstill, at about 20% of the 2015 prices.
Since 2021 prices kept on rising steadily – which in hindsight should have been a warning. Since March 2021 prices remained at a record level for at least the last 10 years. I would have wished to attribute this to a rising environmental consciousness level, however quite simply the paper industry is needing all fibres they can get. Mill stoppages due to insufficient raw material supply are already happening and paper is getting pricey and scarce.
There are surely other factors playing into the price as well, as: rising logistics costs, other countries importing recovered paper, a general upturn in the economy, less paper in the system due to lower consumption in 2020, … Yet, this increase in recovered paper prices is mostly a sign of paper companies reducing their fibre and mill capacity too quickly after the Covid-19 drop and now not coping with the rebounding demand for paper. After a low 2020 print volume numbers this poses a great danger for stifling the recovery of the print industry in 2021.
From the 14th of June to the 18th Inkjet Insight is hosting the 2021 virtual Inkjet Innovation Week to educate the industry on the latest inkjet technology coming to market across document, labels, packaging and industrial segments. Technology coverage includes presses, press components, software and finishing. Anchoring the event are a series of 60 minute, expert-led webinars during the week of June 14th. An additional 30 minutes has been reserved for Q&A and questions may also be sent to experts in advance.
The 5 days do focus on the following segments:
Web-fed document production
Sheet-fed document production
Packaging & labels
Industrial and bespoke systems
Inkjet workflow and efficiency (software and hardware)
Together with Amy Machado from IDC and Elizabeth Gooding I will present on the second day on sheet-fed inkjet. We will cover market data, the latest launches, technology progress, where sheet-fed inkjet makes sense and what might come next.
22nd of April is Earth Day – and it is virtual drupa day three 2021. Still there were 57 vendor or conference presentations to choose from. Again, I listened in into about a dozen, with a few more briefly looked at.
As Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection it is no surprise that one of the drupa main conference topics today was sustainability – or in the words of drupa “circular economy”. The other theme of the “connected consumer” was less visible – I guess since all attendees were connected this counts as well.
Virtual drupa just finished its day two. The stream of webinars and company presentations did not ease. 61 were listed for the 21st of April and obviously there is no way to cover them all. I managed about a dozen and glimpsed into a few others. Here are my impressions and conclusions.