It seems the two biggest concerns facing nonwovens producers today are how to make a product with a lesser environmental footprint and how to make their nonwovens at a lower cost. The solution to both of these challenges hinges to some degree on the fiber or raw material going into the fabric.
This month, Nonwovens Industry presents its annual look at fibers for nonwovens (see page 24). Over the years the focus of this article has changed. For a time it was all about synthetics and the benefits of flexibility and uniformity they could offer; then came naturals, led by cotton, and the purity they hold. More recently, buzzwords like "sustainability," "conservation" and "biodegradability" have permeated the article. Nowadays, it seems fiber suppliers—whether they're offering synthetics or naturals—are looking to showcase what environmental benefit their products can offer. A look at the consumer market shows that this strategy is working. We're seeing new nonwovens-based products ranging from wipes to filters to baby diapers touting green benefits, and it's their raw materials that are allowing them to make these claims. Now, the next hurdle will be for these products to win the hearts of consumers.
Speaking of new products, this month we also take a look at the personal care wipes market. Euromonitor International has been tracking this market and provides us with a comprehensive look at new products and new categories that are shaping this market. Find out if growth is still possible for this once hot market on page 32.
Also in this issue is a look at antimicrobials for nonwovens (page 38) and a preview of what exhibitors plan to bring to Techtextil in Frankfurt next month (page 48).
As for us, we're off to China for the 2009 Asia Nonwovens Exhibition (ANEX). Check back in June to learn more about this ever more important show for nonwovens.