Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PULPACKTION (Optimised moulded pulp for renewable packaging solutions)
Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30
Packaging materials are used more increasingly in our current society, driven by an increased consumption of foods outside of the home, convenience for consumers, smaller households and as a result more packaging in relation to food. The majority of nowadays packaging are made from finite, fossile based sources, different types of plastics. Multilayer plastic packaging are difficult to recycle, and if they end up in the environment through unintended littering or leakage from landfills and logistics, cause major problems in the environment due to the their inherent property of being very difficult or have a very slow degradation. This causes accelerating problems in wildlife, plants, and eventually also the humans through the consumption of food. Todays conventional plastic packaging is to a large degree deposited in landfills, which is not a sustainable long term solution either. Thus, new packaging types that address these issues are in heavy demand.
The base of PULPACKTION innovation, lies in the use of renewable, bio-based, bio-degradable and carbon-neutral cellulose fibers, coupled with bio-based and bio-degradable bio-polymers for barrier properties.
Using raw materials from Europe, cellulose and starches from both agri- and forest culture, we are also reducing our dependence on imported crude oil, and contributing positively to a development of local, sustainable economies inside Europe.
The project benefits Europes ambitions to develop sustainable and innovative technologies and economies in a green-tech sector where for instance China is strongly competing in taking the lead in this sector.
The overall objective of PULPACKTION project is to demonstrate in industrial scale the viability of a all bio-based and bio-degradable packaging solution which also reduces the carbon footprint compared to a conventional plastic packaging by 50%.
Moreover, progress has been made in defining and developing the optimal pulp compositions for efficient and economic production of cellulose based packaging.
Initiatives have been started to develop and analyze the tooling and machinery for the production of cellulose based packaging. Further work will be done going forward based on the requirements of the brand owners involved in the project, and will eventually lead to industrial demonstrators that are taking advantage of the findings and innovations done during the project.
Regarding the development of bio-based barrier films, the bio-based polymer and starch consortium members have been working on developing the right combinations and application methods to produce a bio-based barrier film that is matching the market requirement in terms of heat resistance, seal-ability as well barrier requirements, to mention a few of the requirements been identified in the consumer and stakeholder mapping.
To complete the fully bio-based approach for the packaging, work has been done in order to develop a bio-based ink jet ink and application method that is suitable for printing on cellulose based trays.
Work has also been started on the sustainability analysis of conventional packaging, which will be the comparison for the full LCA that will be performed for the new packaging solution developed in the PULPACKTION project. Data collection for the new packaging solution has started and will carry on in the further work in the project.
Driven by the positive momentum of the market demanding new packaging alternatives, legislation on national and EU level in Europe for banning single use plastic packaging and products, improved more efficient machinery and tooling as well as the PULPACKTION project, Rottneros Packaging is currently in the process of building a new factory in Sweden for the production of cellulose based and packaging for food. This new factory is planned to be operational in the end of 2018 with a capacity initially of 1300 tonnes of packaging, and with a possibility of further capacity up to 2600 tonnes of ready products, and utilizing and further building on the knowledge gained throughout the PULPACKTION project.
Business opportunities could also include commercialization and industrialization of the bio based films and components developed for the consortium member companies.
All-in-all the demonstrator will prove results that can be a part of the environmental issues that we are facing globally, with plastic pollution, CO2 emissions and dependance on fossile raw materials. We believe that this demonstrator will trigger further interest for the industry to invest into this type of alternative technologies.