New recycling recommendations help climate efforts

/ins  In the UK new recommendations allow paperboard packaging to contain up to 15 per cent plastic and still be considered recyclable. One item of such packaging can have 80 per cent less climate impact compared with the corresponding all-plastic packaging.

Paperboard packaging with a thin plastic barrier is an ideal compromise which combines paperboard’s stiffness for the construction with plastic’s impermeability for such purposes as a longer food lifespan. This type of packaging reduces the use of plastic and has far less climate impact than the equivalent packaging made only of plastic.

However, opinion has been divided over whether and how this type of packaging can be recycled. The answer depends mainly on which technology is available in each local market. This has been the case in the UK, which has lacked clear advice on how packaging made of such combination materials should be recycled.

 

Plastic-coated paperboard

At the beginning of 2020, the UK labelling organisation OPRL (On-Pack Recycling Label) issued guidelines for how to recycle packaging made of paper and board with a plastic coating. The guidelines were developed in cooperation with the relevant industry organisations and specify which recycling label should be put on the packaging to advise consumers.

The new recommendations state that packaging can contain up to 15 per cent plastic and still be classified as recyclable and be sorted in the waste stream for paper materials. As of January 2023 the permitted plastic content will be reduced to 10 per cent of the packaging’s weight.

 

Gives time for development

“This is a good decision which establishes clear rules for a number of years ahead,” comments Ginny Samuel, Business Development Manager at Iggesund Paperboard. “Those of us who work with paper- and paperboard-based packaging have been challenged to develop solutions using less material but we’ve also been given time to do this.”

OPRL originally wanted to allow far less than 15 per cent plastic content in fibre-based packaging. But increasing awareness of packaging’s climate impact has already persuaded numerous major brand owners to start replacing their all-plastic solutions. This is particularly the case with food packaging, where plastic is often necessary as a barrier against moisture, grease or aroma. Setting the limit for plastic content too low would have risked slowing down this development.

“One solution that’s very common in food packaging is to put the food in a tray, and plastic is most commonly used for this,” explains Jonas Adler, Director New Business Development at Iggesund Paperboard. “We can replace it with our combination material Inverform, which is a paperboard tray with a thin plastic barrier. But it currently has a plastic content of over 10 per cent.

“Our solution reduces the packaging’s climate impact by 80 per cent, so it would be a setback for sustainability work if this packaging solution were to be penalised.”

 

Significant reduction

The goal of the paper and board industry is to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic in this type of product – a step that requires new, fossil-free barriers. Development work is being done in many places, and new and increasingly better solutions will undoubtedly be presented in within the next few years.

OPRL’s guidelines are primarily intended for the UK market, and the question is how much will they influence other markets?

“They will also be significant outside the UK,” Jonas Adler replies. “Because so many strong brands are based there, these guidelines will definitely have an impact outside the British Isles.”

 

Adapting facilities

Jonas Adler also emphasises that material manufacturers cannot bear all the responsibility for closing the recycling circle.

“The recycling systems and their facilities must also be developed so that they can handle the new, resource-efficient material solutions. OPRL’s recommendation gives both them and the material producers time to adapt, and thereby creates the conditions to make the packaging industry even more circular.”

 Caption: Plastic trays are common applications in food packaging. By changing to paperboard and a plastic barrier the climate impact is significantly lowered whilst the package is still recyclable.

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:

Iggesund Paperboard

Therese Rahm, Communication Manager,

Iggesund Paperboard, +46 70 595 56 10,

therese.rahm@holmen.com

 

Jonas Adler

Director New Business Development

jonas.adler@holmen.com

+46 70 351 85 00

www.iggesund.com

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Company Information

Iggesund Logo


Iggesund Paperboard Head Office

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

     Via social media

Company Information

Iggesund Logo


Iggesund Paperboard Head Office

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

     Via social media

About Iggesund Paperboard AB

 

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.




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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