Packaging material a key issue for the climate

/ins  Switching material from plastic to paperboard can reduce a packaging’s climate impact by 99 per cent. For people who influence the choice of packaging material, this single choice can make the biggest climate impact during a product manager or designer’s entire professional career. That’s the conclusion of a study done by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute for Iggesund Paperboard.

The starting point was to study some of the commonest packaging types and compare the differences in climate impact depending on the choice of packaging material.

“There are tables giving carbon dioxide emissions per kilo of material, but when you compare real examples of packaging, you realise the great importance of the choice of material,” comments Johan Granås, Sustainability Director at Iggesund Paperboard.

“Plastic is a fantastic material for many applications and we use it ourselves when producing paperboard for food packaging that needs a thin plastic barrier to protect its contents,” he adds. “But we believe that decision makers in the packaging industry must know about the effects of their choice of material.”

Packaging light bulbs in plastic or paperboard respectively is the most extreme example in the survey. By switching from plastic to paperboard, it is possible to reduce the climate impact of the packaging by 99 per cent. In the example that was most favourable for plastic, a paperboard carton containing 500 grams of pasta was compared with the corresponding amount of pasta packed in a thin plastic bag. The conclusion was that the plastic bag has a 3.25 times larger climate impact than the paperboard carton. This is despite the fact that the bag only weighs one-sixth as much as the carton and has significantly worse protective and stacking properties.

“There are masses of packagings that cannot be made in anything other than plastic today,” Johan Granås emphasises. “But there are also packagings that are made of plastic where it is easy to switch material without losing function at all – and it is logical to start there if we want to reduce packaging’s climate impact.”

For the paperboard packagings used in the study, climate data for Iggesund’s paperboard Invercote was used. For the plastic materials, IVL drew on data from the databases used for doing lifecycle analyses. None of the paperboard packagings used in the study is made of material from Iggesund Paperboard.

“This is a study that shows the climate impact of different types of packaging. The mandate to IVL was to be general. Neither they nor we know the climate data for each individual packaging. However, based on the recognised environmental databases, this definitely indicates the great importance of the choice of material,” Granås concludes.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was jointly founded in 1966 by the Swedish government and industry to do research into industry’s air and water management issues. Today IVL is an environmental institute that focuses on the interplay between environmental, economic and social perspectives.

 Caption: “Some packagings are made of plastic where it is easy to switch material without losing function at all – and it is logical to start there if we want to reduce packaging’s climate impact,” stresses Johan Granås.


Caption 2: In extreme cases, switching packaging material from plastic to paperboard can reduce a packaging’s climate impact by up to 99 per cent. 

 

Iggesund

 Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

 Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

 

 Further information:

 Staffan Sjöberg
Public Relations Manager
staffan.sjoberg@iggesund.com

 

Iggesund Paperboard
SE-825 80 Sweden
Tel: +4665028256
Mobile: +46703064800
www.iggesund.com

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Head office Iggesund Paperboard
Iggesund Paperboard AB
SE-825 80 Iggesund
Sweden / Sverige
Phone: +46 650 280 00
Fax: +46 650 288 00

info@iggesund.com

www.iggesund.com

Press contact

Staffan Sjöberg
Phone: +46 650 282 56
Mobile: +46 70 306 48 00

Staffan.Sjoberg@iggesund.com

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The Iggesund Mill

Making the world’s best paperboard is easy. You need water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to grow a seedling into a tree. Then you need sustainable forest management that can deliver first-class timber. There must be a pulp mill and a paperboard mill, and then distribution channels to get the paperboard to everyone who wants to use it. Most important of all, though, to the manufacture of Invercote are the skilled professionals who do their best – people who are proud of what they achieve and do not compromise on the quality of their work. Iggesunds Mill has traditions stretching back to 1685. Throughout that time dedicated individuals have done their utmost to use the renewable forest to benefit other people.

A world-class mill

Iggesund Mill (including Strömsbruk Mill) in Sweden is one of the most advanced, fully integrated pulp and paperboard mills in the world. Not least thanks to our long term majority owner, we have very well invested mills. There are many benefits having an integrated saw mill – we manage raw material together and we can use all the waste from their production to either make pulp or energy. In return we feed the saw mill with steam used to dry the timber. At Iggesund Mill, 100% of the pulp used to make Invercote is produced on location and pumped wet to the board machine. This means that we use no market pulp. Not drying the pulp preserves some mechanical properties of the fibres.

This advanced technology – hundreds of metres of paperboard machines – is controlled by employees with various forms of special expertise. The machines work around the clock and year round to produce tonne after tonne of dazzling white paperboard. Technical perfection and numerical control processes are all well and good but for excellent results you also need team spirit and a good working atmosphere. Invercote’s unique properties are the result of the interplay between expertise, a positive spirit and cutting-edge technology.

Actively investing in bioenergy

In 2012 the new recovery boiler was inaugurated at Iggesund Mill, an investment made possible by the long term perspective of our majority owner. With it in operation, the mill produces all the heat it needs, and can also provide district heating to the nearby community. It also produces nearly all the electricity needed for the mill, and is connected to the grid to be able to output excess electricity if needed. As the new boiler was trimmed into operation, it drastically reduced a lot of emissions between 2013 and 2014: fossil CO2 by >85%, particles by ~45% and sulphur by ~35%

With the installation and trimming of the new recovery boiler, emissions to air have reduced drastically from already low levels – graph being updated shortly. Measurements have shown that only 1% of particles in the air of Iggesund village comes from the mill. The majority of particles comes from domestic fire places and cars.

Care for our customers and their businesses

Paperboard must be there when the customer needs it. All the quality features in the world are meaningless if the deliveries don’t arrive in time. Delivery precision is a high priority. A maritime transport system guarantees overseas customers receive shipments with the lowest possible environmental impact. The service doesn’t stop there. Every tonne of Invercote comes with access to documentation and knowledge about how to make best use of the paperboard. The knowledge and market-based technical support provided by Iggesund, help customers to achieve dazzling end results and optimal production economics.

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