As we start 2018, we seem to be moving at a more frantic pace than that of the previous year. Yet, it is the perfect time to take the time to consider some of the key trends and market developments that may occur over the next 12 months.
At the start of this year, I had the privilege of visiting the factories and nurseries for the pulp and paper production sites of Asia Pulp and Paper in China. It was eye opening to say the least, as I now recognise that Europeans are habitually dismissive or ill-informed of the realities of Chinese and Asian manufacture. We are quick to comment on their poor emissions actions, the lesser quality of their products and energy outputs, and we do so erroneously. Far from the quagmire we see engulfing the EU as we attempt to develop a circular economy, the Chinese paper industry is booming. They have all but removed plastic from food delivery packaging, and they continue to lead the way in emissions and waste reduction, going as far as to ensure that all the waste we have been sending them is cleaned and returned back to us. They do this because it is a sensible solution to a vexing issue. The government did not need to hold multiple referendums or watch legislation eventually die in committee like we are seeing locally, but simply decided it was a blight and they did not want it.
It is true that a number of factories and smaller operators are being closed for non-compliance, and some of the larger manufacturers must re-evaluate their operations to remain profitable, but they are doing so willingly and in their droves with the manufacturing sector and air quality countrywide are thriving as a result.
The main point here is that determination and a simple drive to do better can make a huge difference. Consumers want clean, quality products, and manufacturers and converters are always looking at ways to raise quality while improving the efficiency of their systems.
This year, the push for eco-friendly processes and products remains strong; all are concerned with reducing their impact on the planet and its resources, and the converting industry is following suit.
This theme runs throughout this edition, and will no doubt continue to appear throughout the year; if we simply think what could I do better and strive to do so, I am sure it will have wonderful and positive ramifications, and quicker than we might have thought.