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Sulapac and Stora Enso bring the sustainable straw to market

In Finland, sustainable packaging developer Sulapac Oy and global forest industry major Stora Enso Oyj are launching a renewable and biodegradable microplastic-free biocomposite drinking straw to combat the global problem of single-use plastic (SUP) waste. The straw has strong usability and works just like a conventional straw. The new straws are available to brands and consumers looking for more eco-friendly solutions.

Stora Enso and Sulapac have developed a renewable, sustainable and biodegradable straw designed to replace plastic drinking straws. Industrial-scale production is possible in existing extrusion lines and the duo anticipates having biocomposite straws commercially available in Q2 2019 (photo courtesy Marjo Noukka / Sulapac). 

Stora Enso and Sulapac have developed a renewable, sustainable and biodegradable straw designed to replace plastic drinking straws. Industrial-scale production is possible in existing extrusion lines. The first biocomposite straws are being rolled out to corporate customers in Finland and to end-consumers in early 2020 (photo courtesy Marjo Noukka / Sulapac).

Just twelve months ago, Sulapac and Stora Enso announced that they had joined forces to develop renewable and biodegradable straws based on Sulapac’s biocomposite material designed to be recycled via industrial composting and that biodegrade in marine environments.

The first customers include Finnair’s lounges in Helsinki replacing their plastic and paper straws, food delivery platform Wolt, the alcoholic beverage brand company Altia, Hotel St. George, and vegan café Kippo, among the others.

These first customers represent different business sectors but have one common interest: to be at the forefront of sustainability. For end-consumers, the straws will be available in January 2020 via Biofutura.com, an online store specialised in compostable tableware and packaging, and an online retailer Verkkokauppa.com.

There’s clearly a large demand for our product that both fulfills the sustainability criteria and has superior usability. Like all Sulapac materials, the straw is 100% microplastic-free. It is designed to mimic nature; if the straw accidentally ends up in the ocean, it acts like a birch leaf and does not harm the ecosystem, said Sulapac CEO Suvi Haimi.

The straws are based on Sulapac’s patent-pending material innovation. The main components are renewable materials such as wood and plant-based binders. The straw is microplastic-free, meaning that it is designed to be fully biodegradable in different environments. The straw complies with existing waste systems and is designed to be recycled via industrial composting.

Billions of plastic straws are produced and used every week, creating harmful waste that often ends up in the sea. This renewable and biodegradable material can replace fossil-based materials and help combat plastic waste. Our cooperation with Sulapac allows us to explore new types of innovative and scalable materials and widen our offering of renewable solutions, said Marcus Dehlin, Head of Business Alliances, Stora Enso.

In the first phase, the straws will be available in Europe and a global rollout will follow. The straws are produced with machinery originally designed to produce plastic straws.

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