Stora Enso and Pulpex to produce fiber-based bottles

CPG companies plan to use 750 million paper bottles annually

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Pulpex beverage bottles produced using Stora Enso fibre pulp Image Stora Enso
Pulpex beverage bottles produced using Stora Enso fibre pulp Image Stora Enso

Stora Enso and packaging technology company Pulpex have joined 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 at the large-scale industrial production of renewable and recyclable paper bottles and containers that degrade readily in the natural environment.

Diageo
Diageo announces creation of 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle. Photo – Diageo

Using sustainably sourced fiber pulp, the formed 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 molding machine. The partnership is focused on developing a high-speed production line 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.”

Sora Enso collaborated with Pulpex to produce paper bottles

Using Stora Enso’s formed fiber material, Pulpex will produce paper bottles for an array of global brands across various 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, labeling, and colored 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.

Pulpex paper bottles produced by Stora Enso Photo Stora Enso
Pulpex paper bottles produced by Stora Enso Photo Stora Enso

Paper packaging – 80% recycled in Europe and the US

The global beverage packaging market is worth an estimated US$ 117 billion and is forecast to grow by 4.5% and reach US$ 170 billion by 2027. Globally, plastic packaging is currently growing at 5% CAGR and represents about 40% of global beverage packaging. Today across the EU and the US, 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 aluminum (75-80%).

Pulpex (www.pulpex.com) is a new 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 producing 750 million paper bottles per year.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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