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Story | 05/21/2019 06:04:35

Barrier papers offer a much needed alternative to plastic

Plastic waste has become a hot topic and to help eliminate the problem people are searching for alternative materials that can be recycled. One solution is offered by packaging materials made from renewable raw materials, that even when they end up in nature, they do not produce plastic waste but break down as part of the natural cycle.

To respond to this demand, UPM Specialty Papers is actively developing recyclable and renewable barrier papers for wrapping and packaging. These specialty papers can, among other uses, replace plastic-coated disposable papers in packaging food. Barrier papers can also be used to package other daily items such as copy papers.

Consumers can find these papers wrapped around sandwiches at cafés or when buying street food while rushing to catch the train. While plastic-coated papers are challenging to recycle, UPM’s barrier papers can be recycled in exactly the same way as a newspaper.

Biodegradable papers will be in strong demand in the future

As awareness of sustainability continues to increase, consumers will favour packaging made from recyclable and renewable materials.

“It all starts with consumer behaviour. People know that we need to lead more sustainable lives. Solutions that save raw materials and are environmentally friendly are in high demand and we should be able to offer consumers those options,” says Mikko Rissanen, Director, Product Portfolio at UPM Specialty Papers.

“Furthermore, the new directives on single-use plastics and regulations that favour renewable materials create significant advantages for our products as opposed to plastic. It is essential that single-use packaging solutions are recyclable and do not take centuries to decompose,” continues Rissanen.

“Bread bags manufactured from barrier papers have already been available for approximately five years. More demanding solutions that have wider application possibilities in packaging food are next,” says Rissanen.