Stora Enso to unveil paperboard without a traditional plastic layer for coffee cups
Using the newly-developed board, the cups can be recycled into magazine paper and bags
14 May 2019 --- Renewable packaging specialist Stora Enso is readying to launch a new paperboard which can be used to produce paper cups for hot and cold drinks, as well as ice cream, without the need for a traditional plastic coating layer. In a nod to the circular economy, the Cupforma Natura Solo cups can be recycled with full fiber recovery and used in the production of new paper products, such as magazine paper or paper bags.
Stora Enso is trialing Cupforma Natura Solo with customers in Europe and is now ready to fully commercialize the product during the rest of 2019. It will be made available to the global market.
The demand for paper-based packaging solutions has been on the rise. Innova Market Insights identified “Nature’s Appeal” as its number three packaging trend for 2019. The market analyst reports a 40 percent global increase in new product launches with paper-based packaging (2018 vs. 2014), citing anti-plastic sentiment and the rising demand for designed-in recyclability as fuel for the resurgence in paper and paperboard packaging.
At the same time, paper is not only by nature renewable, recyclable and compostable but can also add value via its “natural” appearance in an increasingly eco-conscious society. A recent Sonoco study found that consumers are more likely to buy organic, premium brands if the packaging is “natural-looking.”
Packaging suppliers are responding to this opportunity with solutions that are hybrid paper-based and plastic (and often working towards eradicating the plastic content entirely in the future) or 100 percent paper-based. Stora Enso’s Cupforma Natura Solo is an example of the latter and has been developed as a fully-renewable alternative to traditional polyethylene-lined cups.
Hannu Kasurinen, SVP, Head of Liquid Packaging and Carton Board for Stora Enso, tells PackagingInsights that the supplier managed to maintain the same barrier properties of cups with a plastic coating layer with its new paperboard through dispersion technology.
“Dispersion technology allows us to apply barrier properties on paperboard. The barrier is like a surface finishing that protects the board from moisture,” he says.
Kasurinen notes that there is a strong interest in eco-friendly solutions in today's food service packaging and consumers are demanding convenience that it also sustainable.
“Cupforma Natura Solo is yet another step on our journey to help customers reduce the use of plastics, and to drive the change towards more efficient recycling of food service packaging. Recycling will reduce the carbon footprint of a paper cup by half, and the entire value chain benefits from innovations in renewable materials,” he explains.
“Paper cups are made of high-quality paper board with virgin fiber and, when recycled, the barrier breaks down in a recycling process, and all fibers can be used in the production of new paper products, such as magazine paper or paper bags,” Kasurinen adds.
Stora Enso recently announced that it aims to start recycling used paper cups on a large scale at its Langerbrugge Mill in Belgium. Based on production trials, Stora Enso possesses the technical feasibility to recycle paper cups for use in other paper applications, including magazine paper or paper bags.
“We see paper cups as a valuable raw material for our process. Used paper cups provide a potential source of high-quality fiber for the production of magazine paper. Langerbrugge Mill has the technical readiness to accept billions of used cups for recycling within our sourcing area. The challenge is more about getting these cups to us on the industrial scale that our production would require,” says Rik Van Bostraeten, Sourcing Manager, Multifuel & Business Innovation, Stora Enso Langerbrugge Mill.
Stora Enso is now looking into partnerships for the collection and sorting of used paper cups to ensure that this high-quality fiber material is captured and given a second life.
All Stora Enso Cupforma products are renewable and recyclable and provide a low-carbon alternative to non-renewable materials. A wide barrier selection for different demands is available, as well as support in selecting the best barrier for customers' needs.
In addition to Cupforma Natura Solo, the offering for cups includes the fully renewable Cupforma Natura PE Green, which provides an easy switch from fossil-based polyethylene, as well as the industrially compostable Cupforma Natura Bio. The wood fiber used by Stora Enso is sourced from sustainably managed forests, and forest certification systems are used to ensure traceability and sustainable forestry.
In other notable paper-based packaging news, BillerudKorsnäs and plastic packaging innovator ALPLA have partnered on a groundbreaking project to develop a fully biobased and recyclable paper bottle. The joint venture will be formed through the acquisition of Danish paper bottle company ecoXpac, subject to customary regulatory approvals, after which BillerudKorsnäs and ALPLA will own equal parts in the company. The companies inform PackagingInsights that they aim to launch a first generation paper bottle on the market in 2020.
By Joshua Poole
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