Major Japanese paper manufacturers are developing a new wood fiber material that could help promote decarbonization and reduce the use of plastics.

With demand for paper in the doldrums, the industry is looking to expand the use of wood, a renewable resource, beyond paper products.

Domestic demand for paper and paperboard has been falling since its peak in 2000. In 2023, demand is expected to slump to 22.58 million tons, down about 30% from 2000, as companies have digitalized more of their operations and encouraged remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Soaring prices of coal and wood chips have also weighed heavily on the bottom lines of major paper manufacturers.