In a recent press release, Stora Enso announced that it has developed a recyclable and fiber-based wood foam called Fibrease as a replacement for polymer based foams in packaging. This was done in collaboration between Stora Enso and Nefab.
The press release states that "We see a growing demand from eco-conscious companies to replace plastic-based foams with more sustainable alternatives. With Fibrease we can give them that, says Johan Tegell, Product Manager, Fiber-based solutions at Nefab.
Nefab is a global B2B company, which saves environmental and financial resources in supply chains, providing complete packaging solutions and logistics services for their customers all over the world. Because of this, they have the engineering expertise and converting capabilities to test and help develop the material supplied by Stora Enso. Nefab's role as a development partner has been to learn how to best convert Fibrease and test it through shock, vibrations and transport. Also, to try it out with pilot customers. Through feedback and a close cooperation, Stora Enso has further developed the material.
The result? A fiber-based wood foam that performs similar to PU foam but is kerbside recyclable in the paper/board stream."
DS Smith is doing a case study with Aquapak, a manufacturer of non-toxic, marine-safe, soluble polymers to produce a sustainable polymer called Hydropol, which could be used for plastic laminate film, window patching and paper plate coating.
DS Smith is also doing trials on a range of alternative fibers which includes straw, daisies, hemp, cocoa shells and seaweed.
DS Smith states: "We are also exploring the use of annual plants such as daisies and agricultural wastes for their fibre properties and potential paper performance. Industry-first trials have been undertaken exploring how seaweed may be used as a raw material to design out problem plastics from carton, paper wrap and cardboard tray packaging.
"Now, our Innovation Team is experimenting with cocoa shells for carton board in chocolate packaging and is looking at other materials with a good environmental profile. For example, agricultural waste in the form of straw, and annual plants like hemp or miscanthus, which in some cases might require significantly less energy and water to produce than some traditional paper-making materials."
The Research Institute of Sweden (RISE) is working with Fernandi Innovation on a new packaging solution.
RISE states that "The startup company Fernandi innovation has patented a new packaging concept, which enables a completely fossil-free packaging that is approved in contact with food and that is recyclable.
The project aims to produce material for tests on pilot scale and to for demonstrators. The role of RISE is to assist Fernandi innovation with measurements on packaging material and expertise within packaging technology. The goal is to develop a base for full-scale tests and market introduction of the packaging solution."
We will keep you apprised of further developments.
Helen Roush is Executive Vice President of Paperitalo Publications.