As we move further into the digital age, our lives increasingly enmeshed with pixel screens and online avatars, the assumption is often made that the era of traditional pen and paper is drawing to a close. With more tasks becoming digitised and paperless operations growing in popularity, it would seem logical to assume that paper is in the process of being relegated to the archives of obsolescence.
Yet, surprisingly, despite the rapid digitisation of many facets of life, paper continues to maintain a prominent and indispensable role in our everyday lives. From personal letters to corporate publications, paper remains an ever-reliable go-to for a variety of reasons. And within the pulp and paper industry, it’s companies that adapt to the times and pursue new paper innovations that are able to maintain a competitive edge.
The Enduring Importance of Paper in a Digital World
Digital devices may offer an efficient and convenient alternative for many tasks, but they have yet to be able to replace the charm and personal touch associated with paper.
Whether it’s a heartfelt handwritten letter, an artist’s sketch, or a printed family photo, paper adds an intimacy and authenticity that is difficult to replicate in a digital format. Many paper artefacts can also last for decades or even centuries if properly cared for, whereas digital files run the risk of corruption, viruses, or permanent deletion for various reasons. This tactile and physical connection — the ability to hold thoughts, memories, and history in one’s hand — is the key benefit which imbues paper with an irreplaceable quality.
Beyond personal communication and expression, paper is also an essential tool in the world of commerce. With the boom in online shopping, paper plays a pivotal role in the packaging that protects goods during transport. From clothing and electronics to food and drinks, paper packaging ensures that products reach consumers safely and often contributes to the overall unboxing experience – a factor which can significantly influence customer satisfaction and brand perception.
Moreover, even in our day-to-day routines, paper is a mainstay. From note-taking to brainstorming, many people still prefer the tangibility and simplicity of jotting down ideas on paper over digital alternatives. Paper products also remain commonplace for uses such as storing takeaway meals or drinks, even with the rise of reusable options like metal or plastic containers.
Despite our digital strides, it’s evident that paper remains an essential, multifunctional tool in our daily lives.
Pursuing Innovative Contributions to the World of Paper
When discussing the world of paper, one must recognise the innovative contributions of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas. As one of the foremost providers of pulp and paper solutions in Southeast Asia, Asia Pulp & Paper has demonstrated time and time again its commitment to innovation within the industry. This can be seen in their Sustainability Roadmap: Vision (SRV) 2030 under the pillar of “Production”, with a focus on recycled fibre usage, product biodegradability, and paper substitutes for existing plastic products.
Asia Pulp & Paper’s development of functional paper products, particularly in the realm of packaging, shows their dedication to advancing the capabilities of paper-based products. A notable example of this is Foopak Bio Natura, the company’s award-winning flagship fully-biodegradable plastic-free food packaging solution. Unlike PE-lined food packaging, the Foopak product line can be recycled without additional treatment and is even industrially compostable within 12 weeks. The products are also certified plastic-free by German-based certification body Flustix, and studies conducted by OWS Belgium confirm that they naturally decompose into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass.
Other standout innovations include APP Sinar Mas’ Corrugated Carton Box and Top Bottom Box that can be used for gift packaging before being reused or recycled, or the Kard Stationery series made with virgin pulp sourced from sustainable PEFC-certified forests.
These product lines showcase how paper can be ingeniously adapted to meet the needs of the modern world while concurrently upholding a commitment to environmental sustainability.
Furthermore, Asia Pulp & Paper’s contributions to innovation in the industry extend beyond packaging. Their consistent efforts to instil a culture of innovation have resulted in a broad range of advanced paper solutions that address a variety of modern needs, effectively carving out a prominent place for paper even within an increasingly digital environment.
Paper’s Future in an Increasingly Digital Landscape
While the digital revolution continues to transform many aspects of life, the relevance and importance of paper remain surprisingly resilient. Despite what hardcore proponents of digitalisation may say, the evolution of technology does not necessarily spell the end for paper. Instead, it offers a new set of opportunities and challenges that can lead to innovation within the industry when approached with the right mindset.
With the efforts of companies like Asia Pulp & Paper, the future of paper looks bright. Through their dedication to sustainability and their innovative approach to product development, these companies are helping to ensure that paper products continue to be not just relevant but vital in the digital age. Paper still remains a critical contributor to our evolving world, uniquely poised to create, protect, and inspire in ways that are intrinsically linked to its tactile and organic nature.