As part of its business development strategy in India, the paperboards division of ITC has taken the initiative to create an awareness among domestic consumers to safely package food products from indigenous sources.
Currently in India it is common that food products are packed in "cheap boards" made from secondary re-cycled fibres. This material is collected from common household rubbish and used as packaging material for food products, often compromising the health and hygiene standards of unsuspecting consumers.
ITC believes that this is unnecessary because there is no dearth of hygienic paperboards in the country. Progress, the company said, is being held back because of the prevailing mindset of domestic manufacturers of food products as well as of consumers.
However, there was optimism about the increasing use of hygienic paperboards in the coming years because of the opening up of the global market under the WTO regime.
An ITC source said that in advanced countries, all packaging, which came in direct contact with food products, used boards derived from virgin pulp. Most of these boards were subject to "FDA approval". In India, this practice was still not prevalent because consumers were not aware of the health hazards they faced from the use of such packaging material.
ITC has confirmed that in conjunction with this campaign the the paper and paperboard manufacturing capacity at Bhadrachalam Paperboards Division was being expanded from 200,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes per annum. The additional manufacturing capacity is being created by installing a paper machine from the UK.
The division was also setting up a new 300 tonne-per-day capacity virgin wood pulp mill. The additional pulping capacity would help the division to provide at least 60 per cent of its virgin pulp requirement.