The global coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire industry worldwide, and the tissue segment has felt the effects of lockdowns and changes in consumer habits. In 2020, the main challenge was to meet the demand for products related to the pandemic, and as a result the tissue categories had a significant increase.
With increased sales via ecommerce, smaller brands gained a competitive advantage. Private label toilet paper and tissue paper in general are considered more as viable solutions for affordability, quality and value.
For the fiscal year ending October 4, 2020, private label toilet paper sales in North America increased 22.3%, compared to 14.4% for national brands. According to Claudio Muñoz, Marketing Director in Americas for Körber, Business Area Tissue, “for tissue manufacturers, this is valuable information. Shifting focus to affordability and sustainability will bolster lagging year-over-year growth in the toilet paper category, currently predicted not to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022.”
Even with vaccination advancing around the world, COVID-19 will continue to play a role in how the future evolves for every industry. However, much tissue innovation will be driven by sustainability initiatives as consumers continue to inextricably link sustainability and personal wellness.
TISSUE TRENDING TOWARD GREENER PRODUCTS
“Chief among action steps taken by industry leaders are identifying and embracing the use of virgin pulp from more sustainable sources and alternative fiber,” explains Muñoz regarding the use of raw materials necessary to produce tissue. He also mentioned that, in addition to manufacturers, retailers are also increasingly concerned about the use of green packaging.
Retailers continue to support the twofold approach of reducing the amount of product packaging and increasing the recyclability of necessary packaging materials. Worldwide, major retailers are committing to adoption of green packaging that necessitates manufacturer innovation keying in on obstacles such reducing the use of virgin plastic and eliminating hard-to-recycle packaging.
Sustainable actions also affect the product manufacturing process, while companies seek to make adjustments that avoid waste and are not harmful to the environment. Traditional adhesives used in bathroom tissue production has proven detrimental to the environment, for example. “The glue is poorly degradable as solid waste, a threat to wastewater treatment, and is largely oxygen-dependent during prolonged organic breakdown. In response, water lamination and glue-free technologies that eliminate dependence on adhesives have gained popularity,” said the executive.
EQUIPPED FOR A GREENER FUTURE
Supporting these trends takes Körber tissue converting and packaging equipment that addresses today’s concerns with tomorrow’s technology. Plastic-free packaging alternatives made of biodegradable and compostable materials are introduced by Körber onto the shop floor of several manufacturers existing wrappers. The key is the Bio Pack, available either as an add-on or a machine option that provides the technical modification necessary for paper packaging to run on Körber packaging equipment.
These dual innovations help manufacturers prioritize and integrate sustainable packaging at efficiency and maintenance levels equivalent to today’s polyester packaging – with the added benefit of improved sealing to ensure maximum product protection.
Furthermore, Solid and Solid+® technologies are established frontrunners in zero waste products. The Solid roll is the only roll without a core or central hole. The innovative Solid+ roll features a removable inner mini roll instead of a traditional cardboard core. With Solid and Solid+ solutions bundle volumes decrease — which requires considerably less packaging material — while also optimizing transportation as up to 16% more product will fit on a standard truck.
Aquabond water lamination is a practical and sustainable solution for replacing the adhesive with water during ply bonding. As no new equipment is required to add Aquabond to the tissue converting process, manufacturers realize immediate cost savings. Furthermore, it means eliminating adhesives in favor of water means not having to deal with the expensive challenges glue can present beyond environmental hazard. Available for virgin or recycled paper fiber, Aquabond reduces operating costs, increases ROI, helps improve tissue softness, and makes tissue converting a more earth-friendly practice without compromising final product quality.
“Accelerating market growth with greener packaging and products is a goal and a necessity for the toilet paper and paper industry in general,” says Muñoz. Therefore, Körber actively anticipates what tissue manufacturers need to stay ahead of the sustainability curve and remain competitive.
To learn more about the innovative equipment and green technologies Körber can provide to operations, reach out their team.