End in sight for waste paper crisis

The current waste paper crisis is likely to end by May-June. Usually, December to March is a lean time for waste paper collection in India. Also, the crisis was increased due to the ban on import of waste paper from foreign countries.

20 Apr 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

Naresh Singhal, president, Indian Recovered Paper Traders Associations

In an interview with The Pulp and Paper Times, which is available on YouTube, Naresh Singhal, president, Indian Recovered Paper Traders Associations (IRPTA) said, there is a hope for the revival of domestic waste collection from April onwards, after which the market will get stable. Also, for the last few months, the import of waste paper to India was banned by European countries. There is hope that the ban will be lifted soon as per government notifications. “If this happens, it will boost the domestic collection. And after the availability of the imported waste by May or June, the prices for waste paper will go down considerably,” he said.

As far as the market for waste paper is concerned, Singhal said, the prices of all kinds of waste paper have been doubled. In the last five-six months, the price of corrugated waste was doubled from Rs 17-18 to Rs 31-32. Similarly, writing and printing grade material has reached Rs 51-52 range. The price for notebooks has reached Rs 42-43.

Singhal said the crisis started because the consumption of paper went down significantly when the Covid pandemic hit the word in 2020. In 2020, the consumption of writing and printing paper reduced by 56-60%. It reduced by 35% in 2021. At the same time, newspaper consumption reduced to 17-18% in 2020 and 28% in 2021.

“So, the waste paper input has been poor in these two grades,” he said.

However, he said, in the last two years, only packaging grade paper has performed well. Its consumption has been 55-60%, and almost 90% corrugation waste was recovered. “This paper hardly goes for dumping and gets recovered at many conversation stages,” he said.

He added, “When the whole world is facing the low consumption of paper, in India, consumption has been ideally stable. We have also seen growth after the Covid restrictions were relaxed. The market saw a revival in demand.”

On why India is a fibre-deficit country, Singhal said, the paper consumed in India is mostly recycled paper. On the other hand, in the foreign countries, paper is made from virgin pulp, which can be recycled five to six times. However, repeated cycling ends the life cycle of the fibre. In India, we use paper which has already been recycled.”