BillerudKorsnäs, a leader in sustainability according to DJSI, creates biobased packaging solutions that are climate efficient compared to the materials they replace. A recently launched sealed, stable paper bag is the first of its kind in the world – and the company is currently developing a revolutionary paper bottle for carbonated beverages.

Working together with Bosch Packaging Group, BillerudKorsnäs launched the sealed paper packaging Axello Zap in 2016. The strength and stability of the packaging makes it perfect for dry foods and keeps both shelves and the environment clean. It has a number of environmental advantages over traditional plastic packaging.

The world’s first sealed paper bag

”It is now possible to replace conventional packaging for dry foods with a dust-tight sealed all-paper packaging. Axello Zap is produced on vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) lines. It is the world’s first sealed all-paper packaging, actually”, says Johan Nellbeck, SVP Packaging Paper at BillerudKorsnäs.

BillerudKorsnäs Axello ZAP is the world’s first sealed paper bag. Photo: BillerudKorsnäs.

”We want to challenge the hegemony of glass, plastics and metal in packaging, replacing them with biomaterials. Working together with machine suppliers on a broad range of issues is important to unlock the potential of the materials. In this case, we have had a fruitful partnership with Bosch. Our Axello ZAP paper has been developed specifically to be strong and resilient enough for use on the Bosch PME ZAP, the first VFFS solution with ZAP-Module. Both companies’ expertise in packaging materials has formed the basis for this innovation”, Johan says.

”The material is all paper and therefore renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. A recent LCA study confirmed that the Axello ZAP bag results in a 65% lower carbon footprint than a corresponding plastic bag. The new Sealed Paper Packaging is also dust-tight and insect-proof. This keeps food particles in and contamination out during transport and while on the shelf, thereby resulting in a cleaner environment and less food waste. The success of the product is based on the quality of the paper in combination with the technology to reliably seal the packaging. The market for this solution is huge, for a broad range of products, such as pasta, oats, flour, rice, muesli and sugar ”, Johan Nellbeck says.

An alternative to fossil-based materials

”Sustainability is the core of our business, and to us there is no contradiction between sustainable development and profit”, says Per Lindberg, Group CEO at BillerudKorsnäs.

”The renewable materials we are developing for packaging is reducing the dependency on fossil based raw materials. Our paper packaging is better for the environment and has a lower carbon footprint than conventional packaging made from plastics, metal and glass. There are plenty of examples – cardboard solutions instead of tin-cans, liquid packaging cartons instead of plastic bottles, and paper bags instead of plastic bags”, Per Lindberg says.

”We are currently in the process of developing a potentially revolutionary product: a paper bottle for carbonated beverages. Such a packaging would be much better for the climate than glass, plastics and aluminum. The main challenge is to find a carbon dioxide proof barrier, and we are putting a lot of effort in developing new kinds of bio-based barrier materials. They could replace plastics in many applications; we see many opportunities ahead”.

Sustainability leader in packaging

In 2016, BillerudKorsnäs was included in one of the world’s most prestigious sustainability indices; Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index. In addition, the company was named Sustainability Leader in the Containers & Packaging category. BillerudKorsnäs is the only European company in its category to be included.

”Sustainability is the very basis of our strategy for sustainable and profitable growth. We focus on environmental and social sustainability and responsibility throughout the value chain. Further reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the production, which already today uses 97 percent biofuels, is part of this work. We also strive to be an attractive employer and we know that our sustainability profile makes us popular with graduates”, Per Lindberg says.

Read more about BillerudKorsnäs and their sustainable packaging solutions in the article ”The disappearing cement sack”.

The article was published in March 2017.