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Stora Enso and Orthex combine wood fibre and bioplastic for durable utensils

Finland-headed forest industry major Stora Enso Oyj and compatriot Orthex Group have brought a new range of bio-based kitchen utensils to market. Made from a new biocomposite instead of fossil-based plastic, the new bio-based material used is made from spruce and sugarcane that combines the best qualities of wood and plastic while reducing the carbon footprint of the products by up to 80 percent.

Orthex Group has launched a series of nine kitchen utensils that are made using a new bio-based material that combines spruce wood and sugarcane developed together with Stora Enso (photo courtesy Orthex Group).

In recent years, the Finnish plastics industry has actively sought innovative bio and recycling materials. At the same time, the forest industry has developed wood-based materials to replace fossil raw materials. Both Stora Enso and Orthex believe in the global growth of the market for bio-based products – it creates opportunities for both raw material suppliers and consumer product manufacturers.

The properties of the new products made from wood-based materials correspond to those of similar plastic utensils: the products are hard, durable, hygienic and dishwasher-safe. The wood contained in the biocomposite makes the material stronger and harder. We are now launching nine GastroMax BIO products made of bio-based materials for the home kitchens. In their product group, products that contain 98 percent biomaterials are uniquely innovative, said Alexander Rosenlew, CEO, Orthex.

According to Stora Enso, its DuraSense biocomposite enables the use of renewable fibres, such as wood, to substitute for a large portion of fossil-based plastic. Produced from spruce and pine from sustainably managed and certified Swedish forests, the biocomposite comes from Stora Enso’s Hylte Mill in Sweden which began production in early 2018.

Recently inaugurated, the mill’s annual production capacity is 15 000 tonnes, which is the largest capacity in Europe dedicated to wood fibre composites.

The Stora Enso biocomposite is a new innovative raw material which helps create the desired properties in the products. The wood used in the biocomposite is obtained from side streams of wood products and pulp production, which means that the wood material is utilised optimally, said Patricia Oddshammar, Head of Biocomposites at Stora Enso.

Stora Enso says that the majority of the non-renewable materials used today in for instance consumer products and packaging can be replaced by biocomposite granules, in other words, a renewable wood. The DuraSense biocomposite enables combining wood fibres with recycled or bio-based polymers.

In Orthex’s new GastroMax BIO products, wood fibre is blended with sugarcane. Depending on the product, the biocomposite combined with bioplastics used as a raw material may, according to Stora Enso, reduce the carbon footprint of the product by up to 80 percent in comparison with conventional virgin plastics.

With the help of biocomposites, Stora Enso can expand to new markets and industries traditionally dominated by plastics. The DuraSense biocomposite is the perfect material for furniture, pallets, tools and car furnishing as well as for various consumer products from toys, toothbrushes, beauty and lifestyle products to kitchen utensils, garden furniture and disposable cutlery, said Oddshammar.

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