After several years of downturn, Ottawa’s historic pulp & paper region is on the road to recovery thanks to new innovations in the sector.
“The Ottawa region’s forest products firms are rebounding as the industry shifts from an emphasis on pulp and newsprint to specialty, high-end products,” the Ottawa Citizen reported this week.
Over the last decade, companies such as Glatfelter Inc. have doubled their plant’s capacity where they produce super-absorbent paper used for feminine hygiene, incontinence and disposable diaper products while Fortress Paper Inc. is in the midst of converting a northern bleached hardwood kraft pulp in Thurso, QC into a specialized dissolving pulp producer.
High costs for pulp have left manufacturers on the lookout for new products, but that’s not the only thing driving innovation in the sector. Last month, a report by MediaIdeas forecasted that most grades of paper would decline by 50 per cent in the next ten years. In an industry that has already seen a nearly 60 per cent decrease in it’s biggest product – newsprint – and losses of up to $1 billion a year in the last decade, it should come as no surprise that manufacturers are looking outside the box to revitalize their sector, the report said.
These very moves – from traditional products to specialty pulp products – are driving the turnaround in the Ottawa region, the Citizen said.
“The biggest effort is in getting more value from each tree and expanding the uses for pulp beyond paper — opportunities particularly promising for integrated pulp and paper producers,” an article published by Canadian Business said.