Executive Director, Printing, Writing, Pulp & Tissue, AF&PA
Our modern society is one that increasingly relies on technology for everyday life, work and study, yet the desire and benefits of paper and wood-based products remains consistent. Paper and wood have been embedded in our culture for so long we take them for granted.
Imagine for a minute a prolonged power outage, with no opportunity to charge or plug in smartphones, iPads or desktops for days or weeks on end. Even though none of us remembers a time without instant access to electricity, the loss of power to enable our apps, tweets, Instagrams, texts and web searches would have significant negative impact on the quality of our modern lives. The same can be said for paper. Whether at work, at play, at home or making connections with others, paper plays a role that we rarely think about, but would be worse off without.
The internet has created a world in which convenience is king and a generation that does not accept an "either-or" value proposition but expects the unlimited ability to choose how they consume or interact at any given time or place. That cup of coffee we grab on the way to the office, the muffin from the bake shop, the take-out we bring home for dinner or the Amazon package waiting for us at the door are all essentials of modern life that includes paper and packaging.
E-commerce is growing at an astounding rate, and paper-based packaging boxes are becoming the new store fronts, combining the protection of the content in the box, with an unboxing experience that reinforces brand image and messaging.
The emerging generations are driving a greater emphasis on sustainable materials and recyclability. Few materials can match the natural beauty or renewability of wood. Advances in science and building technology have made wood an increasing choice in modern housing. Whether for floors, framing, siding, cabinets or structural systems, wood products offer advantages in cost, energy use and carbon footprint compared to other commonly used building materials.
Not only does paper and paper-based packaging make modern life possible, it makes it better. Think for a moment how life might change without bathroom tissue. I don't think there is an app for that.