BillerudKorsnäs - Moral fibre

BillerudKorsnäs believes the world needs better and more sustainable packaging. The company explains how this philosophy has led to its partnership approach to developing a bottle for carbonated beverages made from paper.

Innovation is crucial to sustainability. To this end, BillerudKorsnäs is aiming high with a number of development projects, and will cooperate with exciting developers in order to meet its goals. Paper bottles can address the current lack of environmentally sound packaging available for fizzy drinks.

Urbanisation, which affects people's lifestyle and consumption patterns, has led to an increase in the use of plastic. Cities worldwide are growing larger, and, as a consequence, more people than ever are buying food and drink off the shelves, and the majority of those groceries are wrapped in plastic. BillerudKorsnäs envisages a natural, sustainable alternative; a paper bottle that can hold carbonated beverages and minimise plastic waste is a worthwhile challenge indeed.

The problem

Plastic is inexpensive and ubiquitous, which makes a popular choice for manufacturers, but a huge part of the production volume is for single-use items. In 2014, the global production of plastic packaging was 78 million tons, 30.4 million tons of which consisted of different kinds of bottles. Less than a third of all plastic packaging was recycled at all, and only 2% became new packages.

As much as 40% of the plastic ended up in landfill, while 32% ended up as waste in the oceans or on land. Waste plastic is the most common ocean pollutant, accounting for 60-90% of all seaborne debris.

The biggest problem with plastic is that is has a very long lifespan. Its extensive use and inadequate recycling therefore create far-reaching consequences for the environment, locally and globally.

The current situation poses major challenges for society. There is currently between 100 and 200 million tons of plastic litter in the world's oceans. If nothing changes, the water will contain 1t of plastic for every 3t of fish by 2025, and the volume of plastic will actually exceed that of fish by 2050.

What can we do?

Clearly, something must be done to reduce the use of plastic containers. The most effective way to do that is to introduce better alternatives, which is where BillerudKorsnäs comes in.

The company believes that fibre-based packaging is the way to go. It has already invented a number of packaging options that have helped minimise food waste and keep groceries fresh. If it can be dreamed, it can be made.

Make it sustainable

The next step for BillerudKorsnäs is to challenge the dominance of the conventional plastic bottle with one made almost entirely from paper, and since all its packaging material is made from wood fibres, the
company knows this will be a sustainable alternative.

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How waste plastic packaging is dealt with, as described by the Ellen MacArthur foundation in ‘The New Plastics Economy’ (2016).
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