Digital Magazine

Suck it up Paper

As the trends for 2019 continue to filter through my email inbox, I cannot turn my head from the one that has been knocking louder at my eDoor than any other… sustainability - the common denominator in all industries holding great global responsibility and making it known time and time again that companies are addressing these concerns head on. Each perhaps in their own way.

One area we can see this most prominently in the recent yeas is the shift from plastic to paper.  Just when we thought the digital age was giving us reason to believe we had fewer reason to use paper, the material has found its way back into the limelight. Manufacturers are now coming up with new ways to replace plastic products in everything from straws to personal care product containers.

In fact, last July MGM Resorts International announced that single-use plastic straws would only be served upon request at company operated restaurants in the U.S. This initiative, which began rolling out in May 2018, was aimed to eventually remove more than 250,000 straws a day from landfills and waterways—that's 100 million straws each year. 

Starbucks was another who professed it would ban disposable plastic straws at all its stores by 2020 last July. And following its announcement others have jumped on the paper wagon such as: McDonald's, American Airlines, Disney (who plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws and stirrers at all their locations by mid-2019)… to name a few. Indeed, this list continues to grow adding in not only corporations, but cities as well.

The extent to which paper products will replace plastic remains unclear, however it does offer opportunity for converters to experiment with what could be the next big thing for the #sustainablepackaging. It is also creating opportunities for growth. We will continue to see companies like Hokuetsu Package, who recently added a printing facility to its plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, continue to expand to keep up with the demand in this trend.

In the July issue of PFFC - Converting Solutions, you can learn about other trends in the converting space and how using waste-saving winding strategies and technology, paper converters are doing more to increase sustainability and the value they offer to customers.  

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