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Ahlstrom-Munksjö champions new flexible paper packaging

November 15, 2018  By PrintAction Staff

Fibre-based materials provider Ahlstrom-Munksjö has partnered with five companies to develop a new flexible paper-based packaging solution.

The objective of the project, dubbed Sherpack, is to develop a renewable, biodegradable and recyclable flexible paper‐based packaging material, by replacing current materials with more sustainable, bio-based ones, leading to a reduced amount of plastic films.

Kicking off in 2017, the project involves industrial partners Ahlstrom-Munksjö, Cargill and Borregaard, as well as the research centres CTP, ITENE and ISOF-CNR.

The consortium says there is significant market potential, as the size of the flexible plastic packaging market for dry food applications is evaluated at around EUR 3.7 billion a year in Europe. Flexible packaging is widely used in food wrapping, pet food and non-food packaging, as well as numerous other end-use applications.

Usually, flexible packaging contains a plastic film and/or an aluminum foil, creating a barrier to water vapour, oxygen and contaminants. The downside in using plastic and aluminum relates to the end of the life-cycle when the packaging becomes waste. In the normal waste management, that waste ends up being either burned or dumped into a landfill.

The new technology uses a wet lamination of cellulosic fibrils on the cellulosic substrate, a biodegradable polymer waterborne emulsion and a grid of polysaccharides to create a flexible packaging that is also a good barrier for water vapour, oxygen and contaminants. The material is expected to be available for use in 2021.

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