Fiber-based alternative to plastic coffee lids from PulPac, HSMG

By 16 May 2022

Bowls, cutlery, cups — any packaging that is in contact with food — needs a barrier to prevent water and oil from leaking through. Paper and moulded fiber packaging have traditionally relied on a thin plastic film or the addition of fluorochemicals to hold out water and grease. Neither of these solutions is ideal, as plastic layers are not degradable and can be difficult to recycle. Fluorochemicals have been found to migrate into food and accumulate in our bodies, prompting them to be banned in many parts of the world. What is the answer, then, for transitioning to environmentally sustainable fibre-based packaging for food and beverages?

The product will be available for PulPac licensees

PulPac and HSMG have developed an innovative approach for water and oil barriers for PulPac’s Dry Molded Fiber technology. A thin, stretchable sheet of substrate applied with HSMG’s Protean solution is layered onto the fibre mat as the article is formed. The heat and pressure of the forming process bonds the HSMG carrier sheet to the product. The result is a strong, recyclable, biodegradable non-fossil alternative to single use plastic that holds up to hot drinks. 

HSMG and PulPac announced their collaboration to develop sustainable chemicals, barriers and materials for Dry Molded Fiber in 2021, and this year will first feature Protean technology in a coffee lid for Sweden’s MAX Burgers quick service restaurant chain. Other Dry Molded Fiber applications, such as hot cups lids and takeaway items will follow and will be available for PulPac licensees.

Sebastian Roos, chief technology officer at PulPac, said, “We are enthusiastic about the performance of the HSMG barrier technology platform. This solution is plant-based, plastic-free, biodegradable and recyclable, all important qualities to our customers and crucial for saving the planet from plastics. Our technology has pioneered fibre forming, making it possible to manufacture paper packaging without wasting valuable water resources or energy and significantly reducing CO2, at a unit economy that is very competitive. We are fast approaching a tipping point where the single-use plastics items that can be replaced, will become obsolete in favour of competitive and truly sustainable alternatives.”

Jonathon Spender, chief technology officer at HSMG added, “PulPac’s Dry Molded Fiber technology is a good fit with HSMG’s barrier chemistry solutions. The Protean carrier sheet integrates readily into the manufacturing process and is an ideal way to target the barrier to the function required.  We are thrilled that Protean technology will be available for licensing to PulPac customers.”

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