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Bioeconomy Region

Hamburgers in bio-based packaging

News 2019-04-04

Ice hockey fans can now enjoy a more sustainable hamburger when visiting Karlstad, Sweden. Thanks to a wrapping paper that is completely biodegradable, unlike many other fast food packaging. Löfbergs Arena in Karlstad is home ground for Färjestad, a successful ice hockey team in the Swedish Hockey League, SHL. The arena serves more than 20,000 hamburgers to hockey fans each season. So, replacing the old packaging solution with a more environmentally friendly version will truly make a difference.

The change has come true thanks to a common initiative between Löfbergs Arena, UMV Coating Systems and Nordic Paper. Nordic Paper produces the environmentally friendly paper, while UMV Coating Systems have applied the water-based barrier chemical that stops dressings and fats from penetrating the paper. Both companies are situated in the city of Säffle, Sweden, and are members of the world leading cluster Paper Province, that works for bioeconomic solutions linked to the forest industry.

“We prioritize sustainability, just like our partners do. To be able to pull off a joint venture like this feels great. We are one of the largest food producers in our region, so for us it is important to be kind and lead the way”, says Örjan Lindgren, Unit Manager for food and drink at Löfbergs Arena.

New packaging era

Initiatives like these are right in time. Just recently the European Union voted yes to banning some types of single-use plastic products by 2021, to curb ocean pollution. Food packaging will be affected.

Protective barriers in packaging are however necessary to keep some types of food safe and fresh, and to keep consumers clean. The thin layer covering the paper or board is often made of plastic or aluminum and produced by using fossil sources. Thus far from kind from an environmental point of view.

This unique paper and coating solution, on the other hand, is biodegradable and recyclable. The paper can be reused to produce new paper.

“These types of barrier chemicals are very expensive, so previously they have not been able to compete with traditional plastic coating. We at UMV have developed a completely new coating method that makes it possible to use considerably smaller amounts to achieve the desired barrier effect. This changes the playing field in the industry and one can now seriously challenge the plastic market”, explains Daniel Ragnarsson at UMV Coating Systems.

Success in working together

“We have all been involved in producing this new paper, from start to finish. The purpose, besides helping our planet and contributing to what we call green urbanization, is to show that collaboration between companies can lead to great success. It is also fun and rewarding to work outside of your usual areas of interest and expertise,” says Marie Stenquist, Communications Director at Nordic Paper.