Iggesund Paperboard has received its first order for bioplastic-coated paperboard. This means Invercote can now be supplied with a barrier that is biodegradable and is also made from a renewable source. Uses include food packaging and drinking cups.
“This development is largely market driven but is also well in line with the Holmen Group’s overall environmental approach,” explains Ola Buhrman, product manager for Iggesund Paperboard’s plastic-coated and laminated products. "There is a clear demand for barrier materials that are biodegradable and can be composted."
For the past couple of years Iggesund has been performing trials using bioplastics as a barrier material. The company has also done an inventory and evaluation of the materials available on the market. The bioplastic coating is done at the company’s paperboard finishing department at Strömsbruk. The most common barrier material in paperboard packaging is polyethylene (PE), a plastic which is neither bio-based nor biodegradable. The bioplastic that Iggesund is now using is biodegradable and meets the European standard EN 13432 for compostability.
"Unfortunately, replacing ordinary PE with bioplastic is not a simple matter – the new materials place higher demands on both production technology and equipment," Buhrman says.
Current prices for bioplastics are significantly higher than the cost of PE but are expected to fall when availability increases as more and larger production facilities start up.
"It’s very clear that this development is being driven by the market’s demand for greater environmental awareness, and that customers are prepared to pay more for a biodegradable material," says Buhrman.