Laminate in packaging becomes fossil-free

Paper Province have received funding to launch a test bed targeting fossil-free laminate, i.e. the protective barrier in packaging closest to the food. “Our motto is: let’s get rid of oil-based plastic, and get in with fossil-free materials,” says Peter Edberg, project manager at Paper Province.

The packaging market is a huge consumer of fossil-based plastics, accounting for 36 percent of total global usage, and a significant part consists of laminates. But most agree that that fossil-free packaging is the future. Nonetheless, packaging such as crisp bags and milk cartons have a protective laminate barrier closest to the food that is made of fossil-based plastic.

“Without this coating, the food inside will destroy the package” Peter Edberg explains.

The next step towards fossil-free packing

Peter Edberg has been involved in a Fossil-free laminate test bed project since 2017. The project was recently granted an extended funding from Vinnova, to realize the learnings from the pre-study phase and open the test bed. The funding is granted to Paper Province, OptiPak, Promiko, RISE Bioeconomy, Innventia, Broby Grafiska Education and UMV Coating Systems in collaboration.

A test bed is an environment where organizations collaborate in developing, testing and introducing new products, services, processes or solutions.
“We offer a unique opportunity to test and demonstrate advanced bio-based laminates on a scale that radically reduces the step to full-scale commercial production. This is a unique offer likely to attract international companies active in the field of bioplastics.” Peter Edberg says.

Fossil-free Sweden targeting packaging

This new test bed goes hand in hand with the initiative “Fossil-free Sweden” launched by the Swedish government in 2015. The initiative aims to make Sweden one of the first fossil-free welfare countries in the world. One goal is to make food packaging fossil-free by 2030. Paper Province and its co-actors are contributing to this (goal) by launching this project.
“This is an important step towards fossil-free laminates in packaging. We have the manufacturing machine to produce the laminate and we have companies on board that want to start using the fossil-free packaging,” Peter Edberg says.

The best bed is placed in three Swedish locations:

  • UMV Coating Systems in Säffle. Their modern pilot plant is already used by Swedish and international companies for testing barrier coatings on paper and cardboard.
  • RISE Bioeconomy, Innventia Group, has a pilot machine used for test coating with different thermoplastics
  • BrobyGrafiska, a school in Sunne with high technology equipment and the most up to date software. Here it is possible to compare new materials and functions in an open test environment, produce prototypes and test print.