Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
BillerudKorsnäs, Kotkamills Innovations Make Scandinavia Hotbed of Food Packaging Revolution

Packaging remains a significant challenge for companies aiming to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations, but two new packaging innovations from industry giants in Scandinavia may be the solution.

First, BillerudKorsnäs and Bosch Packaging Technology have scored a 2017 Sustainability Award in the Bio-Based Packaging category for their new Sealed Paper Packaging.

Instead of using polymer film, the packaging is comprised of a sustainable mono-material Axello® paper from BillerudKorsnäs and the ZAP-Module from Bosch Packaging Technology and is fully recyclable and 100 percent dust-tight, making it ideal for dry products such as sugar, grains and flour.

“Thanks to our long-standing cooperation with Bosch, we can challenge conventional packaging and transition towards a more sustainable future,” said Johan Nelbeck, Senior VP at BillerudKorsnäs. “We are honored that our passion for innovation is being recognized by this award.”

Azello®ZAP outperforms standard paper packaging in both durability and recyclability, while maintain its natural paper characteristics. The solution is currently available on vertical form-fill seal as well as mandrel wheel machines, providing an attractive alternative to traditional paper bags.

“Bosch takes a comprehensive approach to sustainability. We strive to support our customers in any way we can — from developing and testing new concepts to implementing them in production,” said Dr. Stefan König, Chairman of the Managing Board of Bosch Packaging Technology. “Sealed Paper Packaging is a perfect example of how our solutions address the market challenges of today and tomorrow. Retailers and consumers profit from clean shelves, high product protection and improved product quality.”

BillerudKorsnäs has already made a name for itself pushing forward the sustainable packaging agenda. Last year, the company rolled out its patented Fiberform paper packaging, a 3D formable paper that can hold its shape when force is applied, eliminating the need for structural support from plastics and reducing the environmental footprint of products such as coffee cups.

Meanwhile, Finnish wood and paper producer Kotkamills has rolled out a revolutionary, plastic-free paperboard for food packaging that is 100 percent recyclable.

The company’s new barrier board is moisture and grease-resistant and can be recycled and re-pulped without the application of any special procedures. Additionally, the packaging is free of fluorochemicals and plastic coatings.

“Fluorochemical are still used widely in fast food packaging, even though they have been shown to cause cancer. Our products are moisture-resistant without presenting a health hazard,” said Markku Hämäläinen, Director of Kotkamills.

While other similar paper grades with even lower environmental impacts are currently available on the market, the new paperboard’s durable and watertight properties set it apart from the competition. Product testing revealed that cups containing soft drinks and coffee with cream held up for over two days, but the company is still working on developing a cup that can hold spirits. Currently, only 39 percent of paper cups can hold strong alcohol for more than a couple of hours before leaking and losing their shape.

Though still in its early days, the product has already solicited a significant response. Orders have been flooding in from companies across Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden and test orders have already surpassed 300 tons. Fifty thousand disposable coffee cups made with Kotkamills’s groundbreaking paper board are being used at this year’s Tall Ship Races and Maritime Festival in Kotka. The cup waste from the event will be collected and repulped for reuse.

“It can be used to make copy paper, for example, once the printing ink has been removed. IT contains a large volume of short fiber, so it is well-suited for reuse as paper,” said Hämäläinen.


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