De-inking agents are specialty chemicals employed for removal of ink, coloring matter, and stains during recycling of paper. The primary function of de-inking agents is to reduce surface tension between pulp fiber and ink by forming froth that floats the ink off during the ink collection process. The pulp & paper industry is a highly sensitive industry and is primarily valued for its effective re-use of waste paper. De-inking agents have gained high importance in the recycled pulp & paper industry, which has permitted various manufacturers to produce products such as newspaper, writing paper, and toilet paper of almost the same quality as the new one.
Based on technology, the global de-inking agents market can be divided into wash de-inking and floatation de-inking. Demand for the floatation de-inking technology is expected to rise significantly during the forecast period, due to its benefits over wash de-inking technology. Floatation de-inking method offers better de-inking effect by recovering 20.0% more fibers. The flotation de-inking technology has currently been adopted as a standard practice for removing ink from waste paper in paper recycling operations. The floatation method aids in efficient removal of inks, dirt, and other contaminants from the recycled pulp. Based on de-inking process, the market can be segmented into chemical de-inking and ultrasonic de-inking. Chemical de-inking is carried out at elevated temperatures through alkaline re-pulping operations, whereas ultrasonic de-inking is carried out by utilizing ultrasound waves generated by conversion of energy. Demand for the ultrasonic de-inking process is expected to increase significantly during the forecast period, as it requires very low input of additional energy for increasing brightness of waste paper compared to chemical de-inking.
Based on chemical formulation, the de-inking agents market has been segmented into sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), sodium hydrosulfite, hydrogen peroxide, chelating agents, and surfactants. Caustic soda is a leading chemical used in de-inking formulations. It promotes de-fiberation in pulp and paper. Surfactants is also a prominent segment of the de-inking agents market.
Based on surfactant formulation, the de-inking agents market can be segregated into fatty acids, non-ionic detergents, higher alcohol derivatives, and fatty oil derivatives. Demand for fatty oil-based de-inking agents is expected to increase during the forecast period, as it effectively removes ink and stickiness and improves brightness of the recycled pulp.
Rising demand for recycled paper and increasing focus on reducing energy consumption are some of the key factors driving the market. De-inking processes are more eco-friendly than virgin-paper-making processes; however, they utilize certain chemicals that are harmful when released as effluents. This may hamper the market during the forecast period. Rise in environmental regulations imposed on chemical disposal are making manufacturers opt for eco-friendly products to manufacture de-inking agents. Enzymes such as cellulose, xylanase, laccase, and lipase are found to be an attractive alternative for chemicals in de-inking. Manufacturers are trying to increase usage of enzymes in de-inking from laboratory and pilot-plant scale levels to the industrial level.
Geographically, the global market for de-inking agents can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. In terms of consumption, Asia Pacific is a highly lucrative market for de-inking agents due to high production of paper in the region. Increasing literacy rate, especially in emerging economies such as India, and rising demand for recycled paper with high printing quality and performance are expected to drive the de-inking agents market in Asia Pacific. In terms of consumption, demand for wash de-inking technology is high in the U.S. and Canada, whereas floatation de-inking is widely adopted in Asia Pacific and Europe. Extensive research in the de-inking technology is expected to create lucrative opportunities for manufacturers based in North America and Europe. Favorable activities of industrial production in developing countries such as Brazil and South Africa are fueling the market for de-inking agents in these countries.
Key players operating in the global de-inking agents market include Kao Chemicals, Kemira Oyj, Lion Specialty Chemicals Co., Ltd., and Oleon Corporate M&S.