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From questions over the state of commercial printing, and the ink industry in India, through to a new packaging plant in Australia, worries about recycling in Italy and tax rises in the UK.

Nessan Cleary · Journalist & Editor · Week commencing 6th September 2021

Indian Printer and Publisher asks if the commercial printing sector in India can recover from the pandemic? The article points out that while packaging printers were part of the supply chain, most other printers had to cope with months of lockdown followed by increasing prices in raw materials - all issues that will be familiar to readers in other countries.

The American magazine, Ink World, has a fascinating report on the state of the printing ink industry in India, which is one of the largest consumers and producers of inks in the Asia Pacific region. With both multinational and domestic ink manufacturers, the sector has grown steadily though the pandemic has affected this.

PrintAction, based in Canada, reports that Heidelberg USA is to distribute the Kawahara blank separator equipment, developed by ANC of Japan, across the US, Canada and Mexico. The Kawahara blank separators complement the Heidelberg-Masterwork range of die cutters by offering automated solutions for separating die cut blanks from a printed sheet.

From Australia, Print21 reports that the global flexible packaging firm ePac is building a plant in Melbourne, Australia, that should be operational by the end of the year. It will specialise mainly in small and medium run orders and cater to start-ups across the snack, confection, coffee, organic foods, pet food, and nutritional supplement markets.

Meanwhile, Sprinter has a story on a study by the Outdoor Media Association working with Neuro-Insight, which used eye-tracking and brain-imaging technology and found that billboard advertising, and particularly digital displays, can have a similar impact to a 30 second radio commercial or 15 second television advertising spot.

ME Printer has a story from Egypt, where the Paper Division of the Chamber of Printing & Packaging Industries of the Federation of Egyptian Industries states that regional companies cover 70 percent of the local market through recycling, importing only 30 percent of raw material, mainly from Turkey, Sweden, Portugal, the USA, or Russia.

The Italian magazine Converter suggests that some 94 percent of Italian youngsters see the environment as a major crisis, a feeling amplified by the pandemic. Consequently the younger generation is more likely to insist on recyclable packaging, with the article noting that paper and cardboard is the most recycled packaging in Italy.

Converter also has a story on the sustainability of flexible packaging, which argues that although there is a trend towards more sustainable packaging, the pandemic also saw an increase in single-use plastics due to more online food orders. The use of single material structures, barrier coatings and more recyclable content can help to balance this.

From the UK, Print Business writes that Real Digital, based in Croydon, has picked up private equity funding to allow it to expand its medical packaging business. The company designed and commissioned its own automated system for putting kits together to produce home testing kits for bowel cancer and now plans to add a second line.

Meanwhile, Printweek has found misgivings at the top of British print companies over the UK government’s plans to raise taxes for a new Health and Social Care Levy whilst the recovery is still fragile. Printweek points out that many tech and online retail companies such as Amazon pay a minimal amount of tax.

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