Lightweighting of paper board – adding sustainability to food packaging


Today’s consumers do a lot of shopping online which has driven changes in demand and quality of packaging materials. Product packages are required to look appealing, be strong enough to survive being shipped around the world, and still look good when they are finally delivered to the consumer. At the same time, consumers are expecting more sustainable packaging materials. Lighter weight packaging is one way to improve sustainability: lighter packages means less fibers, lighter load, and reduced fuel consumption as well as reduced transportation costs.

Packing food in fiber-based materials is in itself already a sustainable way to protect and transport food. The pressure to reduce the plastics in packaging material is increasing. Raw materials, energy, and water are natural resources to be utilized efficiently and with a possibility to recycle and reuse.

How to achieve lower basis weights for the paper board products and at the same time keep the performance expectations? Now we come to the core of what FibreNet for Kemira is all about: Studying the phenomena of improving strength properties of the wood fiber network and finding the best and most sustainable ways to enhance that while maintaining the functional properties in the final board.

We are already today able to deliver a broad range of chemistries and concepts to improve the strength properties of fibers in both dry and wet conditions, and we aim to continuously improve and become better and more sustainable in this field. To us FibreNet is not about chemistry development, it is about understanding the fundamentals and answering the questions: Why? What are the reasons for this chemistry being so efficient? What is the right way of applying the products to achieve the maximum effect? What is really going on between the fibers, when cationic and anionic charges are playing the game to build the bonds and creating the materials of the future.

The work done by FibreNet PhD students enables the further development of chemistries and opens the doors for seeing the invisible world behind the scenes of packages. It is time to pay attention to the unseen.

See the invisible » 

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Mari Zabihian

Sr Manager, R&D, Kemira