Published 1 year ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Unilever recently partnered with Huhtamaki to transition the packaging for its Carte D’Or ice cream range to recyclable paper tubs and lids | Carte d'Or
Once ranked the ‘greenest’ country in the world, Finland’s strong R&D programs have kept the country at the forefront of innovation in bio-based and circular solutions for materials and packaging.
Consumers want sustainable and recyclable packaging. Increased awareness is
driving demand for businesses to move away from single-use packaging waste.
Finland is hoping more companies will look to its forest-derived technology
and innovations to help reduce plastic packaging. In short, the Nordic country
is leading the charge for change with many new packaging material initiatives.
Three-quarters of Finland’s landmass is forest; and its wood-based industries
have paired long-held forestry traditions with innovative new uses for timber
and pulp products. Once ranked the ‘greenest’ country in the
by Yale and Columbia University’s Environmental Performance Index,
Finland’s strong R&D programs — such as through
VTT, the Technical Research Centre
of Finland — have kept the country at the forefront of innovation in
for materials and packaging.
As a nation, Finland has set bold environmental and carbon-neutrality goals,
aiming to be carbon
and the first fossil-free welfare society by 2035.
One Finnish company delivering sustainable packaging solutions is
– a global provider of materials to protect on-the-go and on-the-shelf food and
beverages with 100 years of history.
“Billions of people use food packaging every day. It plays a fundamental role in
ensuring food hygiene and safety, driving accessibility and affordability, and
helping prevent food waste,” says Thomasine Kamerling, EVP of Sustainability
and Communications at Huhtamaki. “We seek to shape the sustainable future of
everyday life — delivering retailers and consumers with the future-proof and
sustainable packaging solutions they need to protect food, people and the
Huhtamaki recently partnered with Unilever to transition the packaging for
its Carte D’Or ice cream range to recyclable paper tubs and lids. The move
to recyclable paper-based packaging, which uses 93 percent less plastic per tub,
will help the brand eliminate more than 900 tons of virgin plastic annually in
the UK alone. This year, Huhtamaki launched a first-to-market Push Tab®
blister lid — an aluminum free, mono-material polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
blister lidding — for the global healthcare industry. The company says it
significantly improves the recyclability of the packaging while remaining
compatible with existing, high-performance blister packaging lines.
Another Finnish innovator, Sulapac, produces fully
biodegradable plastic packaging alternatives made solely from sustainably
harvested wood and natural binders, which have seen a lot of uptake from
cosmetics brands such as Niki
The company has also developed a renewable, biodegradable alternative to
that can now be found at luxury hotels including
St. Regis, Four Seasons Resort and Caesars Palace in Dubai.
The global e-commerce market is forecast to reach a projected value of $98.2
As those goods reach homes around the world, so does the protective packaging
they come in; so, a shift away from
is essential. Another Nordic startup,
delivers reusable packaging services for online retailers. Its award-winning,
reusable bags and boxes fold into letter size when empty and can be returned via
any postbox, anywhere in the world, free of charge. RePack provides turnkey
solutions for online retailers, as well as packaging-rental services for
in rental and re-commerce.
Meanwhile, a startup called Paptic produces material for
various packaging applications such as retail shopping bags, e-commerce mailers
and product packaging from renewable wood fibers from sustainably managed
forests in Finland. For example, bags made of Paptic wood are durable and
reusable by the end consumer, as well as easy to recycle with packaging papers
found that more than half of US consumers are highly concerned about the
environmental impact of packaging. Consumers are not only willing to pay more
for sustainable solutions, they would also buy additional sustainably packaged
products if more of them were available and they were better labeled; and they
are almost equally interested in recyclable and recycled plastic packaging and
in fiber-based substitutes.
Finland is getting the
word out about its sustainability and innovation efforts through Business
Finland — a
trade, investment and travel promotion and innovation funding organization.
“Our future-looking industries have responded by developing a high level of
green research and technology know-how – including biomass packaging,” says
Outi Suomi, Head of the Bio and Circular Finland program for Business
Finland. “With these innovative approaches to material design, we are aiming to
make the transition from linear to circular material flow.”
Published Aug 26, 2022 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Ulla Lainio is Commercial Counselor at Business Finland.