The local packaging sector is growing, and to make it as resource conserving as possible, the market requires more packaging material that is recyclable and biodegradable. Paper, as a renewable resource, offers such an alternative by adhering to quality and environmental specifications, says paper and packaging producer Sappi Southern Africa sales and marketing VP Richard Wells.
He tells Engineering News that containerboard packaging – boxes made from fluting and linerboard – is in high demand, particularly in the agriculture sector, as boxes are used by farmers to export their fruit as well as in local markets.
Moreover, Sappi supports industry body research and technical services organisation Citrus Research International, which determines the standards of packaging for the citrus industry. Sappi supports research and development efforts through the Sappi Technology Centre, in Pretoria.
“We further support the agricultural industry by supplying carton testing services free of charge to the citrus industry body. This ensures international quality packaging products ensuring that farmers’ produce is looked after from the farm to the shelf, giving us the edge to compete with imports from other countries,” Wells advances.
Sappi recognises innovation as fundamental to the development of the containerboard case material for the benefit of the entire supply chain.
The organisation has put significant effort into “lightweighting” papers, which means less paper is used to make a box, translating into savings downstream without compromise on strength and functionality.
“By doing this, Sappi has become a trusted and valued partner for future paper packaging needs. This extends to all our divisions.”
As part of Sappi’s enterprise supplier development initiative, the company invested in and supplied a baler machine, and paper and card-box binding and compacting equipment for recyclers to a black woman-owned paper and plastic recycling small business Eco Care Holdings, in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, last month.
Sappi says, owing to the investment, Eco Care Holdings can now grow and potentially create more jobs. Sappi identified and approached the company as one of its suppliers to help improve the socioeconomic status of the area.
“Eco Care Holdings is one of the companies in which Sappi saw great potential. We supplied a small baler in November 2017 and the business has grown. We have now invested in a bigger baler that has the potential to positively effect production growth,” says Sappi Refibre senior procurement manager Frikkie Ueckermann.
ReFibre is Sappi Southern Africa’s secondary fibre division and is responsible for the recycling of used paper and paper products.