How Does Salt Connect With Pulp and Paper

Salt consumption links to the pulp and paper market via two chemicals – caustic soda and sodium chlorate. Pulp production consumed about 6.7 million tons of caustic soda globally in 2022. In addition it consumed about 3.2 million tons of sodium chlorate. The production of both chemicals for use in pulp and paper represents about 3 % of the total global salt market.

The Pulp and Paper Market in Times of Digitisation and Online Shopping

The pulp and paper market underwent significant change in the past decade. With the digitization, consumers switch from printed journals and newspapers to electronic media. Digital data storage and data transmission, and “work from home” reduce the demand for printing paper. The use of recycled pulp instead of virgin pulp reduces the demand for bleaching chemicals. In turn, the increase of online shopping and the average growth of population and disposable incomes results in demand increase. Shipping of goods uses paper and carton for packaging. Population- and wealth growth, increase consumption of household and sanitary paper.

Stagnation to Continue

Both trends are expected to continue. Digitization of the industry, and habits of the population will continue to lower demand for printed journals, newspaper, books, and printing paper. Three megatrends will continue to drive growth of household and sanitary paper:

  • Population growth especially in Asia and other developing markets
  • Overall aging of the global population. 
  • Increasing disposable income, and increasing spending for hygiene products. 

Use of paper and carton in packaging will also continue to grow. Companies are going back to basic, paper-based packaging materials. They are sustainable, biodegradable and recyclable. Over the next years, demand loss in printing paper is expected to be in the same order of magnitude as growth in tissue and packaging end uses. Pulp production is expected to remain at current levels. As a result, salt consumption for the production of pulp and paper products will continue to stagnate in the next years. 


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