“Game-changing” straw: Stora Enso and Sulapac eye “industrial scale” rollout of biodegradable alternative

“Game-changing” straw: Stora Enso and Sulapac eye “industrial scale” rollout of biodegradable alternative

05 Dec 2018 --- Stora Enso and Sulapac have teamed up with the aim of producing renewable and biodegradable straws on an “industrial scale.” The straws are based on Sulapac’s biocomposite material – made of wood and natural binders – designed to be recycled via industrial composting and biodegrade in marine environments.

Launching a demo for sustainable drinking straws at Slush 2018, a leading start-up event that gathers 20,000 tech enthusiasts from around the world, the collaboration is aiming to fill a gap in the market created by recent bans on single-use plastic straws.

Click to EnlargeIn May, the European Commission announced that any single-use plastic items that had alternatives readily available would be banned from the market, including straws. In July, Seattle because the first US city to ban single-use plastic straws. In June, McDonald’s announced a “phased rollout” of paper straws to replace plastic straws across all of its 1,361 UK and Ireland restaurants from September this year.

“This is an important step for Stora Enso and showcases our long-term commitment to gradually replacing fossil-based materials with renewable solutions. Our collaboration with Sulapac is a great example of what we can achieve through partnership in terms of driving innovation to create sustainable solutions within the bioeconomy,” says Annica Bresky, EVP, Consumer Board Division.

Stora Enso signed a joint development agreement with Sulapac in May 2018 to license its materials and technology. The development of the demo straw is a joint collaboration between Stora Enso and Sulapac – a cooperation which complements Stora Enso’s extensive biocomposite portfolio.

“Eco-awareness is a strong driver for consumer demand, and our customers want help in replacing non-renewable materials. Different biocomposite solutions, such as renewable caps and closures and straws will be add-ons and a complement to our own consumer board portfolio, bringing additional value to our customers,” says Hannu Kasurinen, SVP Head of Liquid Packaging and Carton Board.

Sulapac’s material works in existing extrusion lines and the target is to have the straws commercially available in the second quarter of 2019.Click to Enlarge

“We are proud to announce that we are launching a demo for a recyclable, microplastic-free and marine biodegradable straw. This is the world’s most sustainable straw that can be produced on an industrial scale and we have jointly developed it with Stora Enso. Billions of plastic straws are produced and used every week. This straw has the potential to be a true game-changer,” says Sulapac’s Founder and CEO Suvi Haimi.

The regulatory clampdown on single-use plastics has created market openings for reusable products. For example, FinalStraw, created by Canadians Emma Cohen and Miles Pepper, is the “world’s first” reusable and collapsible straw. The straw is made from stainless steel and the container is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

By Joshua Poole

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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