Paperboard packaging is usually a sound choice in terms of sustainability to begin with, but Swedish-based producer Iggesund Paperboard is taking its eco-friendly virtues to the next level with the recent launch of the company’s flagship Invercote board coated with a fully-biodegradable, bioplastic barrier made from a renewable resource.
Touted as an eminently eco-friendly substrate for food packaging and drinking cups, the bioplastic-coated board is the result of two years of extensive testing, research and product development—undertaken at the company’s paperboard finishing department in Strömsbruk—aimed at developing a sustainable alternative to the commonly-used polyethylene (PE) barrier, which is neither bio-based nor biodegradable.
“This development is largely market-driven, but it is also well in line with our 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,” says Buhrman, adding the new bioplastic 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,” says Buhrman, noting he expects the costs of the new bioplastic to fall, as its availability increases with the start-up of larger production facilities.
“It’s very clear to us that this development is being driven by the market’s demand for greater environmental awareness,” sums up Buhman, “and that customers are prepared to pay more for a biodegradable material.”