Stora Enso and packaging technology company Pulpex join forces to industrialize the production of eco-friendly paper bottles and containers made from wood fiber pulp. These renewable products will offer an alternative to PET plastics and glass. The exclusive partnership leverages Stora Enso’s formed fiber technologies and ability to convert end-products at an industrial scale.
The joint development agreement is formed exclusively between Stora Enso and Pulpex, a sustainable packaging technology company established by Diageo (makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness) and Pilot Lite (a venture management company). The partnership aims for large-scale industrial production of renewable and recyclable paper bottles and containers that degrade readily in the natural environment. Produced with sustainably sourced formed fiber pulp, the bottles and containers would enable a significantly lower carbon footprint compared with glass or PET.
A formed fiber product is manufactured by pressing various wood-based pulps into a three-dimensional shape in a moulding machine. The focus of the partnership now is on developing a high-speed production line which is expected to be operational in 2022.
“We see great potential in combining development skills of Pulpex with our industrial capabilities, says Sohrab Kazemahvazi, SVP Formed Fiber at Stora Enso. “This cooperation marks an important step in bringing to market a truly sustainable alternative to plastic bottles and containers, while offering end-user qualities that match those of traditional packaging in the beverage market.”
Using Stora Enso’s formed fiber material, Pulpex will produce paper bottles for an array of global brands across a variety of market applications, from homecare and personal care products to alcohol- and non-alcohol beverages and liquid foods. All of Stora Enso’s wood fiber pulp comes from sustainable, verified sources. The customizable Pulpex bottle allows for embossing, labelling and coloured pigments to fit brand needs and easily integrates into any packaging manufacturer’s existing filling infrastructure.
“We are delighted to have Stora Enso involved with Pulpex and are looking forward to the tangible benefits of such a formidable collaboration that will undoubtedly help us over the coming months as we seek to make our new, high-speed production lines available to all our partners”, says Scott Winston, Director, Pulpex Limited.
The global beverage packaging market is worth an estimated $117bn and is forecast to grow by 4.5% and reach $170bn by 2027. Globally, plastic packaging is currently growing at 5% CAGR and represents about 40% of global beverage packaging. Across the EU and US today, only around 30-40% of all plastic bottles are collected for recycling. However, for paper and cardboard recycling, the average is nearer 80%, just ahead of glass and aluminium (75-80%).
Pulpex Limited is a new world-leading sustainable packaging technology company established by venture management firm Pilot Lite and spirits producer Diageo. The company has developed the world’s first 100% PET-free paper bottle. Made from sustainably sourced pulp, the Pulpex bottle meets food safety standards and will be recyclable in standard paper waste streams, which have a far higher yield than plastic waste streams.
Leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, including Diageo, PepsiCo, Unilever, GSK Consumer Healthcare and Castrol, have joined the Pulpex global partner consortium. Each company has committed to incorporating Pulpex technology into its brand packaging and collectively aim to produce 750m paper bottles per year.