There is currently a high demand for fabrics used to make facemasks and the situation is posing a real threat to the manufacturers of nappies, sanitary towels, and wet wipes which are also made from the same material.
Ever since Covid-19 started spreading especially in China, all the focus shifted towards the mass production of facemasks as producers took advantage of the high demand, leaving the other manufacturers who depend on the same materials on the line.
China in this context had to produce face masks to cater to its population of about 1.4 billion people when there was the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan City. Several manufacturers including carmakers and garment producers, all joined forces to help in the mass production of the masks.
With the increased demand for the fabric to make facemasks, diaper factories had to look for alternatives to keep their businesses at bay where they either halved productions or hiked the prices of their products.
According to Huang Tenglong, deputy general manager Fujian Time and Tianhe Industrial Co. a diaper maker who spoke to AFP, the demands for fabrics have made the costs to be extremely high since January when the Covid-19 was at its peak in China.
Tenglong said that in January, the raw material for diapers cost around 13,000 yuan (1,820 dollars per ton) but at its peak, it went up to 140,000 or 150,000 yuan.
“A diaper uses more material than a mask but… I will only turn a profit if I use (the fabric) for a mask,” he said.”In this environment, a lot of smaller producers cannot sustain… This affects people making sanitary pads, diapers, facial masks, and other nonwoven fabric-based products.”
A Chinese Daily reported that when Wuhan City was under lockdown, the production of facemasks spiked from 5 billion for the whole of 2019 to 115 million per day. Up to 69,000 companies started manufacturing facemasks from April 2020.
Globally, a report by Technaivo projects that the respirators market size will grow by 382.90 million dollars from 2020 to 2024 mostly due to the outbreak of the Covid-19.