The Value of Paper in the Digital World
The Value of Paper in the Digital World
Even in this digital world where would we be without paper?
Look closely around you and you will soon see that paper is everywhere.
It is a vitally important product contributing so much to the way we communicate with each other.
Despite a fairly rapid decline in volumes over the last few years this should be put into perspective.
One recent survey stated that volumes would decline by almost a third between 2008 and 2020.
This decline is almost all down to the competition from electronic media.
However, this will mean that demand will have fallen back to the levels at the beginning of the 1990’s.
The Versatility of Paper
Paper is one of the most versatile products in the world.
It can look, feel and be totally different from one application to the next.
Delicate, as a paper flower, but strong in corrugated packaging.
Soft as a tissue, or rough as tracing paper.
It can be fire retardant in public places, but flammable when used for fireworks.
Cheap and throwaway as a newspaper, but lasting and rich as a bound book.
Paper is everywhere.
It is on the labels of the food in your kitchen, it can line the walls of your house or can be used to as tissues or toilet roll in a bathroom.
Paper will increasingly replace Plastic
The increasing environmental debate about the damage plastic is doing to our world and our oceans is driving the growth of paper packaging.
Many retailers are now making a key strategic decision to reduce the amount of plastic used in the business and the packaging of their products.
In many cases paper is the best alternative.
Paper is made from a sustainable and renewable raw material – this material is carefully nurtured and expanded by the industry that produces it.
The area of forest in Europe has grown by 30% since 1950 and is increasing at a rate of 1.5million football pitches every year.
Papermaking is a business that depends on sustaining the raw materials.
No one expresses concerns about farmers digging up their crops, replanting them and repeating the process from season to season.
In fact, paper is vastly “greener” than even computers or online media.
The Future for the Printing Business
For print companies paper can account to anything up to 50% of the total cost of the print job.
With digital printing it is usually of lesser importance because there is more added value in digital print applications.
Features such as variable data printing have helped to maintain added value and cost-effective printing.
And the ability to print a single book with print on Demand equipment has created new opportunities.
There will always be a requirement for print.
It is just a case of finding a new application.
Companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft are amongst the biggest purchasers of print products.
Research shows that people better remember an advertising campaign when it is combined with direct mail.
And how many couples send out wedding invitations by email these days?
The trick will be to find those applications where print can still compete effectively.
Better Quality Papers
As print runs are generally getting shorter, customers are able to afford better quality materials.
There has been a growth in digital printing of premium, creative papers a way to offer maximum visual impact and sensory appeal.
With Never Tear papers from Xerox it is also now possible to put printed papers into a dishwasher.
Clever ideas such as the addition of smell to paper, security markings and special coatings are pushing the boundaries of innovation.
The closure of so many paper mills hides the fact that many smaller mills are producing unusual and innovative creative papers.
There are also mills that specialise solely in the production of recycled papers and boards.
Only about 19% of paper is unsuitable for recycling.
This is largely due to the changes in applications and the reduction in hygiene products and cigarette papers.
The paper industry is one of the biggest recyclers and users of recycled products.
The face of paper may change and some markets may dwindle , but there is great potential with others.
The Value of Paper in the Digital World for Direct2Print
Most printers tend to buy the commodity print papers of either matt or gloss coating.
Digital printers tend to offer a wider range of paper substrates.
Our online print service tends to keep the choice restricted but our range in-store is quite extensive.
The typical digital print paper has a silk finish like the Color Copy range from Mondi.
However, letterheads can now be printed on a Konica Minolta digital printer making an ideal solution for smaller order quantities.
And our wedding printing service uses a wide range of specialist papers and cards – with pearlescent finishes and other special finishes.
We tend to print at A3 or SRA3 size and then trim to size.
In order to keep ahead of the competition and offer something special for our clients the value of paper in the digital world is really important for our long term development.