The price of paper hurts the press – photo

There was a time when yesterday’s newspaper was recycled to wrap vegetables in the markets. Today, groceries are delivered to homes from cardboard, which is often recycled, and the French press lacks newsprint, which is unsustainable. Thanks to the anticipation and accompanying digitization of the printing press, manufacturers of paper and cardboard have reduced their production capacity of newsprint to such an extent that in a few months there will be only one production machine left in operation in France. And the price of newsprint rose: to 400 euros per ton in the first half of 2021, it doubled in one year, reaching 800 euros and more in April, according to the Press and Public Information Alliance, which includes 285 newspapers. National (PQN) and regional (PQR) daily and regional weekly (PHR) headlines. Paul-Antoine Lacour, general representative of Copacel, which brings together paper, cardboard and cellulose manufacturers, confirms. Fabian Guy, director of the daily Humanity, notes that “paper mills are turning to cardboard to supply Amazon. Smaller factories are closing, which we can readjust orders, which means we have a real industrial problem of dependency in France.” and Senator for Seine-Saint-Denis. Paper makers, who are large consumers of gas and electricity, are simultaneously suffering from rising energy prices. “We were 3% of our costs, now we are at 10%,” adds Mr. LaCour. This phenomenon affects not only France. All of Europe is affected, but Spain, Germany and Scandinavia retain newsprint production capacity.

Between 5 and 10 million additional euros in the accounts of press groups

French newspapers, caught between their fixed costs (rotating, editorial, distribution network) and the increase in energy and paper, live the situation as a tragedy. Philippe Carly, president of the IBRA group, which includes nine titles from the East, including Alsace, Republican and the latest news from Alsace. According to confidential data obtained by AFP, an individual increase in the price of paper will weigh an additional 5-10 million euros in the accounts of groups such as Ibra, West France, Le Monde, Le Figaro or Sud Quest. However, despite the increase in digitization, the French press, many of whose titles raised their selling price per issue at the beginning of the year, still consumes about 330,000 tons of paper per year, all titles combined, notes Pierre Petillo, director of “Alliance` ” . Most fragile are the headlines of regional weekly newspapers, which are still sparsely digitized and whose readers are paper-bound. Many newspapers reduce pagination, cut out sections, or don’t go out on public holidays. Outermer, La Dépêche de Tahiti’s long-running newspaper, was placed under compulsory liquidation at the end of April. The situation is very disturbing because some paper makers are taking advantage of the situation to raise the stakes. “Previously, we had annual rates, now we negotiate rates on a quarterly basis, there are even provisions for papers that are given to the highest bidder,” adds a chief press officer who requested anonymity. Another acute stress point is emerging: recycling, which is also increasingly moving towards cardboard packaging, which is in great demand by e-commerce.

From January 1, 2023, the Agec law against waste requires newspapers to actually pay their environmental contribution to Citeo, which regulates waste collection and recycling in France, rather than paying in kind in the form of public pages as has been the case until now. “It’s crazy, we newspapers are going to directly help fund Amazon and others,” we’re excited about the alliance. She asked for specific help from public authorities: “This cartoon is thriving on e-commerce, we understand that, but it is difficult to assess the contribution of e-commerce to democracy.”

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