For about half a century, foamed polyethylene (EPE), polyurethane (PU) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) have been utilised as the go-to material for several packaging applications.
However, they are now faced with new, innovative competitors like Papira® by Stora Enso. But why switch to this new material? Read into three key reasons why. Cushioning is an essential part of protecting fragile goods from shock and vibration. That’s why for many decades, plastic foams have been used as a versatile and cost-effective solution. However plastic based foams are problematic. If they leak out to nature the material is inert and will not degrade. Furthermore, plastic foams are generally made from finite sources, mainly crude oil, which leads to a release of fossil carbon at its end of life.
To turn these challenges into a thing of the past, Stora Enso has developed a lightweight, paper-based foam for protection and cushioning in packaging. Here are three key reasons why Papira® by Stora Enso is better than conventional plastic foams.
1. A bio-based product
Plastic foams used in cushioning today are mainly made of crude oil, resulting in a product with a high carbon footprint over its lifetime and other environmental issues. Contrary to traditional solutions, Stora Enso’s new bio-based packaging foam Papira® by Stora Enso is not based on fossil raw materials. Instead, it is made from trees, a renewable resource that grows back.
2. Recyclable in the paper stream
Even though plastic foams such as expanded polystyrene or polyethylene foams are lightweight and handy, recycling them is difficult.
Paper-based Papira® by Stora Enso is designed for recycling in paper or carton streams. This means hassle-free recycling for the end-consumer as both the protective insert and the outer box can be put into the same bin. Paper is a valuable material that can be reused and manufactured into new items, including toilet paper, wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, and paper bags. Switching a company’s cushioning or protective foam to Papira® will thus also mean a big leap in the recyclability of its product packaging.
3. Biodegradable and compostable
As a material, Papira® is designed to be biodegradable. Therefore, it does not become waste or pollution even if not recycled properly – as opposed to plastic-based foams which cause harm to the environment and wildlife due to its light weight, popularity and potential to rapidly disintegrate, potentially into microplastic that is even more difficult to retain from nature. The intended end-of-life of Papira is recycling it in the fiber stream, that is for end-consumer to put it onto paper or carton recycling bins and allow for the fibers to become new products.
The new standard in protective packaging?
Our ambition is to make Papira® the new standard in protective packaging. For this to become reality, Stora Enso will gradually scale up operations while developing this material. Potential customers for Papira® include all who need to protect fragile products such as electronics, household appliances, design objects, and high-value consumer products during transport.
We want to meet the needs of our customers in performance, functionality, and sustainability, and the initial reactions have been very positive. Follow our articles to hear news about our sampling process!
Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials and wooden construction, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has approximately 21,000 employees and our sales in 2022 were EUR 11.7 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm AB (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY).
Source: Stora Enso