Plastic consumption has increased dramatically since the early 1950s. According to a comprehensive study published in the journal Science Advances in 2017, the total volume of plastic produced worldwide from 1950 to 2015 exceeded 8.3 billion tonnes. With the annual volume of plastic production amounting to some 400 million tonnes, the 10-billion-tonne limit might very well be broken this year.
It was estimated that over three quarters of the total volume of plastic used by 2015 was waste. Most of the plastic waste that ends up in waterways originates from single-use products, such as plastic bags and packaging.
Much of the plastic pollution that accumulate in nature could be avoided by replacing the plastic films traditionally used in cartonboard packages with recyclable plastic-free barrier material.
Kotkamills has responded to the plastics challenge by developing barrier board produced online with water-based dispersions. AEGLE® Barrier boards can be used in fast-food and frozen-food packages replacing plastic-coated board. Made of virgin fibre, AEGLE® Barrier products meet the strictest hygiene requirements.
“AEGLE® Barrier products create a plastic-free, recyclable product line of folding boxboard that has high grease- and moisture-resistance and can be converted on existing production lines. In addition to barrier properties on one side of the carton, the other side of AEGLE® Barrier board offers excellent print quality,” says Eveliina Lukkarinen, Head of Technical Customer Service at Kotkamills.
The AEGLE® Barrier line includes two product versions: Light and Plus. True to its name, AEGLE® Barrier Light comes with a lighter barrier. It is suited especially for fast-food products that are consumed soon after the purchase.
“The AEGLE® Barrier Plus board, in turn, has a higher barrier content, resisting moisture and grease longer. It is designed for frozen foods and products that are exposed to grease for a longer time, such as bakery products,” says Lukkarinen.
AEGLE® Barrier grades are standard products that have been commercially available since spring 2018.
“We will offer more barrier boards, featuring different properties, in the future, but these two products alone can help considerably reduce the use of plastic in many groups of mass products,” Lukkarinen adds.
According to Markku Korhonen, Sales Manager of ParoPrint, a manufacturer of packaging for the fast-food, bakery and food industries, a plastic-free alternative for fast-food packaging is both an environmental choice and a competitive advantage for companies.
“A few years ago, I heard that Kotkamills was developing plastic-free barrier boards. Right at that time, plastic became a hot issue. It wasn’t difficult to jump on the bandwagon when the AEGLE® Barrier boards entered the market. ‘Zero plastic’ has been a good argument when we have approached new customers,” says Korhonen.
ParoPrint has focused on the product development and production of takeaway packages, such as those used for popcorn, sandwiches, wraps, hamburgers and chips, as well as bakery product packages.
“The demand for moisture- and grease-resistant, plastic-free packages has clearly increased. Kotkamills’ new barrier board has enabled us to eliminate plastic from some of our products in one go, without compromising on the properties of the packages,” says Korhonen.
According to him, plastic-free barrier boards can be produced on traditional production lines.
“If fast-food restaurants on a wide front replaced their present board materials with plastic-free alternatives, this would reduce plastic use significantly,” Korhonen adds.
Enjoy your lunch!
Hesburger has long opted for biodegradable, plastic-free packaging material in its restaurants, where possible. It took one more step in the right direction when it chose Kotkamills’ AEGLE® Barrier board for its tortilla, nugget and salad packages.
“We continue to make our activities more ecological, and this is a great step towards reducing plastic. Plastic-free board is competitively priced and does not require special measures from our suppliers,” says Heini Santos, Communications Manager at Hesburger.
The thickness of the board was adjusted slightly, based on feedback from the staff, when the packages were tested. The board used for nugget and tortilla boxes holds a certificate for biodegradability, and these boxes display in large letters ‘I am made of Finnish biodegradable board’.
“Our staff at the pilot restaurants were positive about the new boxes. We are now ready to spread the use of the packages to all our restaurants in Finland,” says Heini Santos.
“New biodegradable boxes will be launched in our restaurants in the Baltic countries. Plastic-free alternatives are also of great interest in Russia,” says Eeva Mäki, Product Development Manager at Hesburger.
Info | Hesburger
Hesburger restaurants can be found in nine countries: Finland (271 restaurants), Lithuania (51), Estonia (47), Latvia (47), Russia (39), Bulgaria (15), Ukraine (3), Germany (2) and Belarus (1).
Hesburger’s history goes back to 1966 and a café-grill set up in Naantali, in Western Finland.
Hesburger is a registered trademark, owned by the Finnish family enterprise Burger-In Oy.
Text Bo Ingves
Photos Johanna Kinnari
Director, Barrier Boards
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