EUROSAC Congress 2024: Empowering circularity

EUROSAC Congress 2024: Empowering circularity

From May 23–25, over 130 participants gathered in Porto, Portugal, for the EUROSAC Congress 2024 featuring engaging talks, professional debates and networking. The central theme was “Paper Sacks: Empowering Circularity”. The discussions revolved around the industry’s recent projects and solutions progressing paper sack recyclability and recycling.

The EUROSAC Grand Prix Award was one of the highlights, honouring the industry’s most promising innovations. The Gold Award was presented to dyvision from dy-pack. Gascogne received the Silver Award for Gascogreen Fluor Free. The Bronze Award went to Protective Mailer from Mondi. C-in from Fiorini was awarded with the Industry Special Award. The audience’s favourite innovation was also dyvision – dy-pack took home the Public Choice Award as well.

The European paper sack industry looks back at a challenging year 2023. It saw a decline in sales across all market segments and delivered –15.9% fewer paper sacks compared to 2022. In its largest market, the construction sector with a market share of 58%, the industry sold –20% cement paper sacks and –9.8% building materials paper sacks than in 2022. The second largest market recorded dropping deliveries of –17.6% for food products and –6.2% for milk powder. The figures of the first quarter of 2024 show a certain recovery from the steep downward trend, but are still negative with –3.8% paper sack deliveries compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Challenging market trends and EU legislation

Camila Jaramillo, European Economist at Fastmarkets RISI, predicted an increase in demand for the next two years in her comprehensive global outlook for sack kraft paper and paper sacks. As new important drivers of the industry, she listed the substitution of single-use plastics, e-commerce and flexible packaging. “Despite different challenges from international competition and EU legislation, the European sack kraft paper and paper sack industry has all the potential to grow strongly. However, innovation is key to responding to regulatory and cost-competitive challenges, and to taking advantage of new uses demand,” Jaramillo concluded. The audience received an in-depth update of the latest EU legislation around packaging and packaging waste, deforestation and green claims including its chances and pitfalls for the industry. Also on the agenda was an update on the progress of the industry’s ambitious road map targets and the latest research and communication activities that support their achievement.

Alessandro Selmin new EUROSAC president
Alessandro Selmin, new EUROSAC president.

Advancing circularity

The focus of the discussions were different projects and solutions supporting the circular economy in the sack kraft paper and paper sack market. CoCircular’s report on the “Paper sacks go circular” pilot project gave insights into important lessons from the collection, separation and recycling of used paper sacks from the building materials sector in Spain. The French organisation Adivalor demonstrated a model of how agricultural waste can successfully be collected, valorised and recycled. Adding to that, the audience was presented advanced substitutes for traditional packaging (raw) materials by Paptic, Taghleef and The Navigator Company – from bio-based alternatives for plastics as packaging material, barrier films and laminations to different raw materials for paper sacks such as Eucalyptus globulus.

Alessandro Selmin new EUROSAC president

After five years of heading the EUROSAC Board, Olivier Tassel handed over his office to newly elected Alessandro Selmin. “Our industry has a lot of opportunities for growth in the upcoming years. At the same time, it must tackle a lot of big issues such as meeting the highest recycling targets and the requirements of the upcoming legislations,” Selmin said. “EUROSAC is the place where we can find solutions together. I trust that our industry can accomplish the necessary change. The range of Grand Prix contenders shows impressively that we are flying in the wind of innovation.”

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