Board Manufacturer begins Pilot Production of 100% Bio-based Plastic, suitable for Food Packaging

The need for the world to reduce the use of fossil-based plastics is well documented and it is estimated that between 90% to 99% of plastic in the world is from fossil fuels (Source: Fossil Fuels & Plastic – Centre for International Environmental Law (  )

Beginning of the End for Fossil Based Plastic?

In an exciting and very hopeful development, cartonboard manufacturer,

Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. They believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow.

Stora Enzo believes that this material could be a “game changer” in the packaging industry because they believe the material could replace plastic bottles, aluminium cans and glass jars for a wide variety of uses.  Langerbrugge pilot plant to drive commercialisation of our FDCA process FuraCore® – News | Stora Enso

What is this 100% bio-based material?

Fossil-based plastic has been difficult to substitute, particularly in food packaging industry because of it’s properties – it is lightweight, transparent and has excellent barrier properties – protecting foods, extending shelf life and reducing waste.

The challenge is to find a bio-based material or organic chemical that has the same properties and is economically feasible to manufacturer and sell.

The brand name for the new bio-based material is FuraCore ®. The Stora Enzo website explains FuraCore ® as follows: “Furandicarboxylic acid, or FDCA, is an organic chemical compound that occurs in nature and the key building block for bio-based plastics such as PEF”

(PEF Polyethylene Furanoate is a 100% recyclable, bio-based polymer produced using renewable raw materials (sugars) derived from plants)

The explanation continues “With our breakthrough technology to produce FDCA, we’re laying the foundation for a plastic that makes sense – one that originates from growing plants that absorb carbon dioxide during their lifespan. Other than being the key building block for PEF, FDCA can also be used as a monomer component in coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. Meaning that most manufacturers in the global transparent rigid and flexible packaging industries can utilise our elegant and innovative technology to grow sustainably.”

What are the properties of FuraCore ® ?

-High heat resistance

-Superior barrier properties

-Renewable/ biobased

-High Strength

-Durable and recyclable

What could be the applications of PEF based on FuraCore ® ?

– PET bottles, aluminium cans and glass jars e.g. bottles for soft drinks, juices, beer kegs, bottles for hot-fill soups and sauces, ready meal food trays, modified atmosphere packaging for perishable food, pouches and films for fresh and dried food.

FDCA-based polymers can also be spun to fibres, and FDCA can be used as a monomer in coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers.

This is clearly a very exciting step forward towards a much more sustainable, yet still fit-for-purpose form of food packaging. We will follow developments of this material in future posts.

You can read the full article here.

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