The food industry is among the several fields that are introducing wood and fibre based raw materials at an accelerating pace. Huhtamaki is increasing the use of renewable and versatile materials, such as paper and cardboard, and nearly 70% of Huhtamaki’s product portfolio is already made of fibre-based products.
Huhtamaki’s goal is that 100% of the wood fibre in its products comes from recycled or certified sustainable sources and in 2018, we reached 98% level. The company is investing in innovation that introduces renewable, safe materials and solutions for food packaging.
“Fibre packaging is a key innovation area for us, and in some applications, it can fully replace plastic,” says Richard Ali, Sustainability Director from Huhtamaki Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania. “For example, in 2019 we introduced paper straws that are made of paper, their wood fibre coming from sustainably managed forests. 100% of the paper used in the straws and in their wrapping is PEFC certified.”
Last year Huhtamaki also brought to market a new material, Fresh, which is an innovative, fully biobased and biodegradable composite material that is made of cellulose. It is used to replace fossil-based food trays.
Focus on sustainable fibre sourcing and usage practices
Huhtamaki sources virgin fibre from certified forests, as this ensures that all of the company’s wood fibre supply is responsibly produced. The sustainability of forests is verified in a voluntary forest certification process, where an independent third party assesses the quality of forest management and production against the requirements of a public or private certification organization. To minimize unnecessary transportation, Huhtamaki’s fibre is sourced from as close to the manufacturing sites as possible
“Huhtamaki uses virgin fibre for food packaging with direct food contact, as this is the only way to guarantee food safety and hygiene and meet the regulations. The high-quality wood fibre in the Huhtamaki paper cups can be recycled up to seven times in other paper products before it loses its strength,” Ali says.
Huhtamaki also sources recycled fibres from manufacturing or from post-consumer recycled materials. The company uses residual clippings from its own paper cup manufacturing to make new fibre plates. From post-consumer recycled paper, Huhtamaki produces egg cartons and trays as well as cup carriers and wine bottle protectors.