Narendra Paruchuri delivers stirring pro-paper message

The Telangana Offset Printers Association (TOPA) hosted a conference dedicated to the theme of sustainable printing and packaging. P Narendra of Pragati Offset addressed the gathering during the inaugural session on 12 March in Hyderabad. Excerpts from his speech.

12 Mar 2022 | By Charmiane Alexander

P Narendra: The day the law favours sustainable alternatives, there will be a rush. Are you ready for the change?

P Narendra started off his speech by saying, "One of the most sustainable things on this planet is paper. In areas of the world which produce lots of pulp, the number of trees is more than in the last year. For every tree they cut, two are planted. Just like we grow rice and wheat, year after year, season after season, wood also is harvested and pulped or used for construction, furniture etc."

Narendra said he found it strange, when he got an email from top printers that said at the end 'conserve paper' or don’t print. P Narendra said, "We should print if needed. But let's not carry that message in our email."

Then Narendra said, "We printers are ready with soy-based inks, FSC/PEFC certified papers, metal transfer etc. But in today's world it is our customers who can drive this faster." He mentioned many customers and brands are not interested in paying USD50 per ton extra for FSC/PEFC paper. Also, he said, "Metpet is cheaper than metal transfer but customers will not change if legislation is not changed."

Narendra stated, "We hear about the Government banning single-use plastic." This he said "is very good news for printers" since there are opportunities which could "fall into the lap of the ink on paper industry". But he cautioned that we should be ready with all the technology. His prognostication was: "The day the legislation favours sustainable alternatives, there will be a rush. If we are not ready then we will miss the bus. All of us have to keep on doing R&D, no matter how small or big."

Narendra then focussed on the mantra: change is the only constant in our life. He told the TOPA delegates that "all of us have to change according to these changes otherwise we will fail in our jobs."

He cited the example of packaging, especially MetPet and lamination which will render the substrate used non-recyclable. Narendra said, "We have to look for ways to make this more eco-friendly." He pointed out, Pulp moulding is another technology which is fast catching up. Engineering is an important part of packaging. He said, "When you purchase an Apple product – be it a Mac or an iPhone, it gives the consumer great pleasure to see (and experience) the packaging. We take out part-by-part and admire the engineering and construction and learn how they did the job so well."

He shared a personal experience, when he said, "Last year we (Pragati) produced the Johnny Walker box containing one bottle of whisky and two glasses. We used plastic molding to hold the bottle and glasses. The next year they did not want plastic. So we developed a system with board and rubber bands which could hold the bottle and was 100% eco-friendly. We sent it for patenting too. Unfortunately for us, the alco-bev brand opted for tin and we lost out. But we are still in the race and we will get the contract someday."

P Narendra said, "Sustainability need not be forced on us. It is our obligation to keep this planet in good condition for our future generations. We use too much plastic. If you travel by train, you will see the country-side littered with plastic. As a citizen of the planet one feels very sad."

His message to the audience. "Let's not wait for legislation. Let each one do what we can for Mother Earth."