Deepak Mittal's Paper Day message

By 01 Aug 2022

The Federation of Paper Traders’ Association of India (FPTA) is celebrating Paper Day today. On the occasion, Deepak Mittal, the president of FPTA shares his Paper Day message

Deepak Mittal of FPTA, the apex body of paper traders in the country with 35 member associations and 6,000 paper traders

“I know that handmade paper can never supply the daily growing demand for paper. But lovers of the 7000,000 villages and their handicrafts will always want to use handmade paper, if it is easily procurable.”  - Mahatma Gandhi in the Harijan on 14 September 1934

Today is 1 August. It is this day that we celebrate as Paper Day. The story behind 1 August is as follows: the handmade paper community was prosperous prior to the arrival of the British regime. However, it was the saga of rise and fall during the British regime. It suffered setbacks because mill made paper was imported by the British rulers from England. The paper which was produced in larger quantities was smooth and even economical.

At this juncture, the revival of the handmade paper community was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi as part of the Swadeshi movement. It was Pune-based chemical scientist KB Joshi who introduced to Gandhi Ji the idea of making paper out of waste material. Excited at the prospect of making eco-friendly paper and employment generation, Gandhi ji advised Joshi to set up a commercial unit to produce handmade paper. Thus, the dream unit was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru on 1 August 1940 in Pune. The Constitution of India was written and printed on paper made in this unit.

Paper: Indispensable part of everyday life 
Paper is most relevant in present times. Beyond its use as the basic material for written and printed communication, paper in its various forms is used for hundreds of other purposes, including packaging, wrapping, insulating, and hygiene.

Throughout the course of human history, paper has played a major role in our world and in the lives of the people that have impacted it. From memoirs and contracts all the way to art, music, and poetry, paper has been the common thread of all of them. The canvas with which Raja Ravi Verma painted and the pages in which Tagore jotted down his thoughts; all of these aspects that have transformed our world and society were once placed on sheets of paper and paper products.

Paper is used for writing and printing. Books are created using paper and newspapers are published with it. Reading is a good habit and it betters our knowledge. Notes written on paper are long-lasting and permanent. Paper provides a less expensive, and dynamic, means for spreading information, conveying data, thoughts, and ideas.

It would not be incorrect to state that individuals’ lives revolve around paper. In a world full of technology, people can still find a written document such as a marriage certificate, students’ diplomas or certificates and especially books that are well cherished and appreciated. Magazines and newspapers printed on paper permits the society to stay informed. Paperboard boxes are used for packaging and storing one’s belongings. One of the essential products made out of paper are the paper towels that provide comfort and hygiene. Wallpapers increase the appeal of a home’s interior.

Paper cups are essential in our everyday life. Millions of cups are deployed daily in coffee shops and fast-food restaurants. Most importantly, paper cups can be recycled after use. Paper cups are more eco-friendly than plastic cups. They are biodegradable and free of hazardous substances. Additionally, they help to keep garbage out of landfills. Paper cups are manufactured using renewable resources. They are a sustainable alternative since they are biodegradable. Paper cups are recyclable and are a renewable resource. Paper cups are simple to recycle and do not contribute significantly to air pollution. Paper cups are compostable and inexpensive. When you drink out of paper cups, you’re protecting both your health and the environment.

Paper: Biodegradable and eco-friendly
The government of India’s ban on single-use plastic from 1 July is significant as the concern for preserving the planet heightens. India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has banned the use of all single-use plastic from being manufactured, imported, stocked, distributed or sold. And so, spoons, plates, glasses, trays, earbuds, balloon sticks, candy and ice cream sticks, carry bags that are less than 75 microns in thickness, and certain types of packaging material, should disappear in time to come. 

This ban has created opportunities for manufacturers of eco-friendly paper bags, paper straws, moulded fibre and other sustainable packaging material. The domestic paper community has somehow been a poor communicator and has failed to tell its story. As a result, people, students, NGO’s and even government agencies are not aware of the correct facts and have indulged in greenwashing.

According to Indian Pulp & Paper Technical Association (IPPTA), the domestic production of paper and paperboard was to the tune of 25.52 million tons in the financial year of 2020-21. 80 percent of this quantity was made from waste paper, 13.62 percent from wood and 6.38 percent from agriculture residue.

The 13.62 percent paper made from wood is largely from trees grown as plantations (crops) rather than trees cut from forests. The tree plantations are promoted by the domestic paper manufacturers with the support and participation of farmers and small land owners. 

According to new data released recently from researchers at the University of Maryland and the non-profit World Resources Institute, India had a net tree gain of 8741kha. Country’s 80% production of finished paper is made using waste paper through the process of recycling. The fact remains that the waste paper collection still remains unorganised and the recycling rate low in India as compared to European Union and USA.

The country is thus dependent on imports of waste paper for producing paper and has to part with the precious foreign exchange. European Union paper manufacturers have voluntarily set a new, ambitious recycling rate of 76%, calculated by dividing the recycling of used paper by the total paper and board consumption, should be achieved by 2030. It represents a best-in-class performance both at global level and across material industries, as paper and board are the most recycled material in Europe. This commitment is laid out in the new European Declaration on Paper Recycling 2021-2030 and published on 30 June 2022.

Taking a leaf out of the European Union Players, the Indian manufacturers should also publish a declaration and set their targets for collection of waste paper and recycling. They should also set out targets for reduction of water consumption, energy, fibre recovery, emission of harmful gases and sound. There have been innumerable interesting innovations in manufacture and usage of paper in its well documented history of more than 2,000 years. 

FPTA's paper mission
In Japan, when you finish reading the Mainchi newspaper you can plant it. Its pages consist of recycled paper and seeds of flowers and herbs. It’s one of the most widely read papers in the country, selling over five million copies a day. 

The Federation of Paper Traders Associations (FPTA) of India, the apex body of paper traders in the country has in its fold 35 member associations - and represents more than 6,000 paper traders of the country. In 2017 the FPTA started celebrating Paper Day annually on 1 August to convey and share the story of paper, removing doubts and clarifying myths about paper with the common man. It's been four years since the start of this initiative. 

The FPTA has been successful in having a postage stamp released. It has printed literature on awareness of paper in national and regional print media, arranged visits to schools, colleges, corporate houses and public places for removal of doubts and myths, displayed posters nationwide, use of stickers and distribution of handbills, arranged publicity through various mediums, organised essay writing, letter writing, drawing, poetry, and elocution contests, distribution and planting of saplings, and several other activities. The contest for the best handwritten letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister had an overwhelming response. Needless to say, the initiative has been a success and has been appreciated by one and all. The credit goes to the membership of FPTA for using their own funds and putting in their time, effort and energy in making all the events a grand success.

Paper is a natural product, reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable, lightweight and malleable yet it has the strength and folding endurance, with excellent reproduction properties.

My sincere appeal to each and every citizen of the country is to use more paper and promote paper.

You can help the environment by switching to paper, and you can do so, now!

vinsak

 

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