Boxes. Labels. Books. It’s paper – a renewable, recyclable material that is an inextricable, often invisible, part of daily life. Much is done with paper, and the world would be at a loss without it.
The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa) has been actively advancing the ‘paper story’ since its foundation in 1992 and, today, is seen as the voice of the country’s pulp and paper industry.
The paper story is one of renewability, recyclability, innovation and development.
In South Africa, 840-million trees across 693 000 ha are specifically grown for use in pulp and paper manufacture, and the industry plants in excess of 210 000 trees every single day. Sustainable tree farming is what makes wood and paper products renewable, notes the association. These trees are planted and harvested in cycles, like most agricultural crops, providing both local and export markets with wood and paper for communication, packaging and a myriad of industrial applications.
Given that land suitable for the commercial growing of trees is limited, virgin fibre is supplemented with recovered paper. Some 65% of the country’s paper mills depend on recycled fibre for production. However, virgin fibre is still needed in the papermaking process as paper fibres shorten and weaken each time they are recycled.
Pamsa represents the interests of more than 90% of paper, packaging and tissue manufacturers in South Africa, some of which rank among the top 20 pulp producers in the world. This makes the pulp and paper manufacturing sector robust, well regulated and highly developed, says the association.
Pamsa also supports its member companies’ continuous efforts to improve the way they do business by providing a platform for precompetitive issues of mutual concern. These include education and training, renewable energy production and use, water, waste, and research and development.
Almost 150 000 people are employed through the planting of trees and downstream activities, with recycling also playing a vital role in job creation.
Pamsa also belongs to the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA), with Pamsa’s executive director Jane Molony also serving as the ICFPA’s president.