Spring has finally arrived, and the world feels a little lighter – more positive. The people around us have a certain spring in their step and even scientists maintain that the season is inextricably linked with a sunnier outlook.
Admittedly, in this issue of TAPPSA Journal, we highlight some pretty heavy challenges – like manufacturing’s falling contribution to the country’s GDP and the pressing need to adapt and transform so many aspects of our industry’s value chain.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of encouraging news – like Mpact’s R46 million investment in a breakthrough liquid packaging recycling plant, a story that ticks all the boxes when it comes to innovation, collaboration, economic stimulation, environmental sustainability and job creation.
Turning to learning and development, the Pulp and Paper Centre of Excellence in Mandeni, KwaZulu-Natal was launched by the uMfolozi TVET College and the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa along the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Seta. This initiative will serve to provide the industry with the technical skills it so desperately needs. The fruits of this investment can only be realised and sustained if we collectively endow the very people who keep our production lines going with the requisite knowledge and skills.
In our Dry End feature, we cover Tim Harford’s book Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy. Harford is an economist and presenter of BBC World Service’s podcast series of the same name. Harford tips paper as the ‘quintessential industrial product’.
He chronicles its development over the past 2,000 years before which the animal parchment of 250 sheep would produce a single volume of the Bible. Fortunately we have moved from pulped cotton to renewable wood and recycled paper fibre, and stopped using ammonia of human urine as the ‘chemical’ to break the raw material.
Isn’t it wonderful to be part of an industry whose footprints can be observed throughout history?
Lastly, thank you to our contributing authors and especially our advertisers! Your support keeps us in print.