Finland’s fibre-based material and solution provider, Ahlstrom-Munksjö has recently announced plans to develop a biodegradable, renewable, and recyclable, flexible paper‐based packaging material in collaboration with five companies, a move that would significantly reduce the volume of plastic films used in several industries and cut plastic pollution.
Apparently, materials currently used to produce flexible packaging include non-renewable plastic film and/or aluminum foil, which is not environmental friendly. These flexible packaging materials are used in food packaging, pet food wrapping, non-food packaging, as well as for several other end-user applications.
As per sources, the five partners, which include three research centers and two industrial partners, are a part of the European project, Sherpack announced in June 2017, in which Ahlstrom-Munksjö is also an industrial partner.
Precisely, the two industrial partners include Norway’s chemical firm, Borregaard and the United States’ privately held global corporation, Cargill Corp., while the research partners are ITENE, CTP, and ISOF-CNR.
Sources suggest that the packaging solutions developed under the Sherpack project will come with additional features such as wet lamination of a thin layer of fibre, preparation and coating of a recyclable polymer waterborne emulsion, and specific design, composition and printing of a polysaccharides grid to improve the packaging material’s grip and stiffness.
The cellulosic materials will also enhance food conservation, improve mechanical properties and convert and guarantee customer safety, claim sources familiar with the matter.
For the record, in September 2018, Ahlstrom-Munksjö revealed plans to invest €21 million to support coated specialties capabilities at its Brazil’s Jacarei plant. Reliable sources claim that the investment is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019 and will enable the company to better serve its customers in South America with improved packaging solutions.