The global stone paper market size is expected to reach a valuation of USD 1,257 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Stone paper, also known as mineral paper, rock paper, bio-plastic paper, or rich mineral paper, are solid and long-lasting paper-like material made from calcium carbonate and linked with HDPE resin. They're used for many of the same things that cellulose-based paper is. Calcium carbonate, which comes from stone (rock), is the major component of rock paper. Stone paper is created from crushed stone blended with a non-toxic and recyclable binder, such as HDPE.
Stone and conventional paper differ primarily in terms of the raw materials used. Plant fibers are used as a raw material in traditional form, and a lot of water is used in the manufacturing process, whereas stone paper does not need plant fibers or water at all. Furthermore, stone paper manufacture creates negligible carbon emissions, requires no acid, base, or bleaching chemicals, and is recyclable.
The market's main growth driver is the increased demand for stone paper in the paper packaging industry. In sack bags, fast food bags, carry bags, and premium retail bags, the product finds widespread use in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), healthcare, and the food & beverage industry.
Stone paper's sustainability and aesthetic attributes are credited with the product's growth in the food and beverage application business. Because the paper does not melt when it comes into touch with water or moisture, it is highly appreciated in the food and beverage business. It also remains solid and intact while transporting food and beverage items.
'The Stone Paper Company,' for example, is expanding its product offering to include stand-up pouches, heavy-duty bags, and side gussets. The Stone Paper Company's heavy-duty bags are used by engineering and technology company 'Bosch' as compact spare parts carrying bags.
The growth of the stone paper market is being driven by the rapid proliferation of e-commerce platforms and structured retail businesses. For example, 'A Good Company' uses stone paper to make shipping materials such as paper bags and boxes for e-commerce businesses. Also, since the COVID-19 outbreak began, numerous aspects of the online economy have experienced growth. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global e-commerce trade was expected to exceed USD 26.7 trillion in 2020.
The demand for stone paper for packaging in the e-commerce industry is likely to rise; as a result, resulting in considerable growth in the stone paper market throughout the forecast period.
Several environmental factors contribute to the increased demand for stone paper over the forecast period. No trees are cut down; there is no water or air contamination, and it is recyclable and photodegradable. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), global usage of conventional paper has surged by 400% in the last 40 years. In addition, it takes roughly 23 big trees to cut four metric tonnes of wood chip for one tonne of traditional papers.
Monoculture plantations provide the food fiber for pulp used in design paper, which negatively influences forest ecology. The usage of stone paper as a substitute for traditional papers is critical in addressing the issue of deforestation. There is no requirement for any fiber in creating stone paper; hence no trees would be felled for the purpose. As a result, rising environmental awareness and increased use of recycled materials, such as stone paper, are likely to propel market growth throughout the forecast period.
Drilling, blasting, crushing, and processing are the main steps in extracting limestone from mines. The entire extraction process has a negative impact on the environment, as mining and subsequent processing results in water depletion, forest deforestation, soil erosion, water, soil, and air pollution, biodiversity loss, soil and rock mass instability, degradation of agricultural land, and changes in the landscape.
Dust particulates are discharged into the environment during operations such as excavations, haul road building, drilling, blasting, and transportation. Heavy Earth, Moving Machinery (HEMM) such as dumpers and excavators emit gaseous pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These pollutants harm the air quality in the mining area and the surrounding area.
Limestone mining frequently leads to poor water quality in the surrounding area and the rerouting or replenishing of water in the aquifer. Furthermore, groundwater pumped from quarries alters stream flow, potentially draining water from surrounding wetlands. Because of the aforementioned detrimental effects of limestone mining, residents living near limestone-rich areas are increasingly opposed to constructing limestone quarries.
Various laws, regulations, and certificates, such as the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the National Environmental Policy Act, are used worldwide to ensure that proper mining activities are followed. Various countries, such as Canada, Australia, and Russia, have their own environmental permitting regulations for mining operations. For mining activities covered by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, an environmental assessment procedure is carried out at the federal level in Canada (CEEA).
Mining effluent also has an environmental impact by deteriorating soil; as a result, mining effluent regulation establishes a limiting value for the release of effluents from the mining industry. This can impact and diminish limestone output, limiting the manufacturer's profit margin to reduce mining wastes and acting as a limitation for the company when obtaining raw materials from suppliers.
Stone paper manufacturers and the industry benefit from the rising demand for environmentally friendly packaging. Stone paper's sustainable and eco-friendly properties considerably reduce production waste without killing or harming trees, allowing it to meet global demand for paper and paper packing products. The increased awareness for paper packaging products originating from a natural source, rather than a chemical and water amalgamation, is being significantly chosen by major end-users or application industries, particularly for food and beverage, cosmetics, and healthcare product packaging.
Also, the need for sustainable packaging materials such as paper bags and cardboard boxes made from stone paper is increasing as modern e-commerce platforms bolster global trade. Over the forecast period, this is expected to open up many doors for the stone paper market.
The Covid-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the market. Governments worldwide have imposed lockdowns and limitations on travel and logistics due to the outbreak. The temporary stoppage of production operations has hit the demand for the stone paper. After causing significant damage to the market's supply chain and demand order in the first half of 2020, the market has exploded in the second half.
This inverted dynamic results from the high demand for paper, which comprises stone paper, for sustainable packaging in various industrial areas. Its application in packaging papers, labeling papers, and the rapid growth of the adhesive industry have all raised its market demand.
The post-pandemic phase will be significant for the global stone paper market. The recovery can be hindered by supply chain disruptions, which will affect the market dynamics and the prices of the product. Furthermore, distribution and transportation capabilities restrictions, unfavorable financial conditions, and ascended expenses will challenge the global market. Also, limited production, support operations, labor shortages, and constraints for other end-user sectors, suppliers, and vendors may fail to meet the consumer demand. Overall, the recovery will be challenging for the global stone paper market.
The global stone paper market share has been classified based on the application and regions.
The stone paper market has been segmented into packaging, labeling, self-adhesive, and others based on application. The packaging papers segment is expected to dominate the global market, and it is projected to reach USD 597 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 6% during the forecast period.
Stone paper consumption is expected to increase as demand for sustainable materials for packaging applications grows. Stone paper, an environmentally friendly alternative to standard paper, is made from calcium carbonate and high-density polyethylene. It is produced without the usage of trees or gallons of water. The stone paper used for packaging applications is expected to rise as demand for waterproof, tear-resistant, insect-proof, fireproof, and grease-resistant packaging materials grows.
For FDA-approved food packaging, stone papers are the best option. The demand for stone paper for packaging applications is rapidly increasing, owing to its long-term sustainability and low cost. Furthermore, because stone paper combines the benefits of both regular paper and plastic, it is expected to grow in popularity in packaging applications. Food package linings, hamburger wrapping, soap wraps, wet tissue packaging, heat seals, medicinal bags, soft packaging, inner bag linings, flexible packaging, shopping bags, and containers are all examples of typical packaging applications for stone paper.
The global stone paper market share has been segregated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central, and South America, the Middle East, and Africa.
With a market value of USD 660.93 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 6.1%, Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest market for stone paper. Stone paper's growing popularity in the Asia Pacific can be ascribed to its low environmental impact since it helps to minimize water usage, carbon dioxide emissions, and deforestation. The demand for stone papers for labeling and self-adhesive applications has increased significantly as many educational establishments, businesses, and government companies have grown.
Plastic use is notably high in the Asia-Pacific region, and different governments in the area have taken preventative measures to reduce it. China and Southeast Asian countries' plastic prohibitions are expected to boost demand for stone paper. In addition, the stone paper market in the Asia Pacific is being driven by recently enacted rules on food-contact materials.
With an expected market value of USD 261 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 4%, Europe is expected to be the second-largest market for stone paper. The presence of paper and packaging material makers in countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France is expected to drive demand for the stone paper during the forecast period.
Because the EU is determined to limit plastic consumption, paper-based packaging is expected to rise rapidly in the following years. Nestle, Unilever, and Carrefour, among the region's food brands and retailers, have made sustainability aims a part of their business duties. Likewise, major European packaging companies such as Tetra Pak, UPM-Kymmene, Stora Enso, Smurfit Kappa, and Ardah Group have begun to use non-wooden materials and plastic alternatives in their manufacturing processes, which is expected to propel the market for stone paper in the region.