With the world’s attention focused on finding greener solutions and cleaner technologies, opportunity is ripe for young scientists and engineers in the forest product and paper sectors to step up to the challenge.
The International Council of Forests and Paper Associations (ICFPA) invites students and young researchers to submit their work for the 2018-2019 edition of the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) is co-ordinating the local leg of the competition which has now opened for entries. The entry deadline is 31 August 2018.
Only three candidates from around the world will have the chance to travel to Canada in May next year to present their ideas to global CEOs in the forestry and paper industry.
“In the new age of the bioeconomy, we want to stimulate competition among students and young researchers under the age of 30 who are doing exciting things with wood, paper and the process waste,” says PAMSA executive director and ICFPA president Jane Molony.
“The sky is the limit with wood fibre,” she adds.
Projects could include a wide range of activities relevant to forest-based science, products using forest-based raw materials, process improvements and other innovations throughout the value chain.
“The theme for the 2018-2019 award is centred on disruptive technologies that are revolutionising the future for forest-based products and services,” says Molony.
The overarching topic has been divided into two categories: ‘future generation forestry’ and ‘innovations in wood-based industries’. “However projects are certainly not limited to these two categories,” she explains.
- Future generation forestry could encompass forest tree breeding and biotechnology; precision forestry and measurements and inventory.
- Innovation in wood-based industries could cover the analysis and properties of pulp and paper; facilities, instrument and process control; bioproducts and wood chemistry; recycling, deinking and the environment; timber for construction; and material substitution with wood and recycled paper fibre.
The SA round
In the lead-up to next year, all countries represented in the ICFPA will hold their own regional round and selection process. PAMSA will receive local applications, carry out a selection process and then nominate up to three candidates to compete internationally. The national finalists will submit a short video clip describing their work,” adds Molony.
The online application process
The international selection process
After a transparent and objective selection process, the winning submissions from around the world will have the opportunity to present their projects in front of an audience at the global CEO Roundtable.
Travel expenses to Canada and accommodation will be sponsored by the ICFPA.
The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) has announced the 2017 paper recycling rates. Last year the paper recycling industry along with conscientious consumers and thousands of collectors kept 1,3 million tonnes of paper and paper, boxes and liquid packaging out of landfill. This would fill 1,539 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
This tonnage represents 70% of the 1,8 million tonnes of paper available for recovery, which excludes books and archived records, and unrecyclable paper like toilet tissue.
“We are delighted with our latest statistics as it shows us that people are recycling more,” says Ursula Henneberry, PRASA operations director. In 2015, the association set a target of 70% by the year 2020, and this has been achieved three years early.
In the past six years alone, more than seven million tonnes of paper and paper packaging have been recovered for recycling. If baled, this amount would cover the surface of 1,273 soccer fields, one metre deep. “The unsung heroes are our country’s recycling collectors along with industry players who operate collection and drop-off schemes as well as buy back centres,” notes Henneberry.
“While our recovery rate has increased, there has been a drop in local consumption particularly in printing and writing grades, so much so that a newsprint paper machine was closed down last year,” remarks Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA). This has resulted in a slight drop in the actual tonnage from 1,4 million tonnes to 1,3 million tonnes.
“This decline is however in line with international trends,” adds Molony. The average annual per person consumption in South Africa has dropped from around 50kg in 2011 to close to 40kg in 2017. Some of this reduction is attributable to cost saving, electronic media substitution and the country’s weak economic growth.
The paper packaging industry does not need another tax
Commenting on the Section 28 notice1 (published on 6 December 2017) calling for Industry Waste Management Plans, PAMSA asserts that the private sector consistently invests in voluntary waste management initiatives without it being mandatory. “We would prefer not to have mandatory taxes as these will increase the price of packaging. And our economy and already cash-strapped consumers cannot afford additional costs,” explains Molony.
In addition the objectives of the notice will not be met through more taxes but rather through strengthening existing partnerships between industry, municipalities, the Department of Environmental Affairs and other public institutions. It is through partnerships with the likes of the Fibre Processessing and Manufacturing (FP&M) SETA that PRASA have trained over 6,000 recycling collectors and entrepreneurs since 2010. PRASA has also worked with the FP&M SETA and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations to formalise the qualifications that these entrepeneurs receive.
According to Statistics SA, there has been a substantial increase of jobs in the paper recycling sector from 2016 to 2017, which has been buoyed by robust demand from paper mills.
Robust local beneficiation
The sector has the capacity to process all the waste paper it collects and less than 5% was exported in 2017. As a result, South Africa is less vulnerable to the vagaries of the international waste paper market and although China’s moratorium on waste paper imports did have some impact, it was neglible compared with the likes of that in the USA and the UK.
“As an industry, we embark on numerous awareness drives, promoting better separation-at-source to reduce the contamination of waste paper and provide a better quality fibre for paper manufacturers,” Molony concludes.
1 A notice in terms of section 28 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No 59 of 2008) (Notice) was published on 6 December 2017. Each packaging waste stream will have to submit an Industry Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) to the Minister by September 2018. According to the Notice, the Waste Bureau will oversee these plans and a tax will be collected by SARS to implement the IndWMPs.
The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) is an industry association with members in the paper recovery and collection, sorting and processing sector. PRASA members include Correll Tissue, Corruseal, Gayatri Paper Mills (Golden Era), Huhtamaki, Mpact Recycling, Neopak, Sappi Refibre and Tetra Pak. PRASA advocates for improved paper recycling and efficient waste separation in businesses, homes and schools. Not only does paper recycling divert a valuable raw material – paper fibre – from landfill, it develops entrepreneurs in recycling and supports job creation in the paper recycling sector. www.recyclepaper.co.za
The theme of the 2017 United Nations International Day of Forests is Forests and Energy. The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) is proud to represent the global forest products industry, which plays an important role in contributing to the production of renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels by using wood manufacturing residuals, byproducts and forest residues – collectively known as biomass – to produce much of the energy required for its operations.
The South African sector is represented through the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA). Jane Molony, PAMSA executive director and ICFPA vice chair, says that the local pulp and paper sector is in some instances totally self-sufficient and has additional power to sell into the grid. “This energy, by virtue of the cogeneration process and biomass based lignin content in black liquor, uses less water and emits less CO2 than regular coal based power production. This is why PAMSA finds it particularly galling that the Department of Energy’s recently published draft Integrated Resource Plan for energy excludes cogeneration as a viable, green technology.”
According to the international carbon accounting principle, when combusted for energy, biomass does not contribute to global climate change as growing trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. The ICFPA reiterates the carbon neutrality of biomass in a policy statement: http://www.icfpa.org/uploads/Modules/Publications/icfpa-statement-on-biomass-carbon-neutrality.pdf
“The forest-based industry also can substitute for a wide range of fossil fuel-based products on the market, hence providing additional climate benefits as well as welfare to society,” said ICFPA President Elizabeth de Carvalhaes.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, wood provides the world with roughly 40 percent of current global renewable energy supply – more than solar, hydroelectric or wind power. Sustainably-managed forests have a key role in meeting several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and providing solutions for a growing green economy.
To increase the role of forests in providing renewable energy and to reduce the use of fossil fuels, the forest-based industry invests in technological innovation and sustainably-managed forests to improve yields and practices. In the past ten years, the energy share of biomass and other renewable fuels has increased from 53 to 63 percent.
The ICFPA represents more than 30 national and regional forest and paper associations around the world. For more information about the sustainability of the global forest and paper industry, visit www.icfpa.org
PAMSA has been promoting the interests and efforts of the South African pulp and paper industry since 1992. Any employer involved in the manufacture of pulp, paper, board, tissue and recycled paper in South Africa, may hold PAMSA membership. With our member companies continually striving to improve the way they do business, PAMSA supports their efforts by bringing them together on pre-competitive issues of mutual concern. These include education and training, energy production and use, water and waste, and research and development. The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) is housed within PAMSA.
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