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Stora Enso and Sulapac to develop renewable and biodegradable straws

Finland-headed global forest industry major Stora Enso Oyj and compatriot start-up sustainable packaging developer Sulapac Oy have joined forces to develop renewable and biodegradable straws. The duo introduced a demo of a sustainable straw at Slush 2018, a leading global startup event in Helsinki gathering 20 000 tech enthusiasts. The demo, targeting industrial-scale production, is designed to replace conventional plastic straws with renewable, biodegradable ones.

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).

The straws are based on Sulapac’s biocomposite material – made of wood and natural binders – designed to be recycled via industrial composting and that biodegrade in marine environments.

This is an important step for Stora Enso and showcases our long-term commitment to gradually replacing fossil-based materials with renewable solutions. Our collaboration with Sulapac is a great example of what we can achieve through partnership in terms of driving innovation to create sustainable solutions within the bioeconomy, said Annica Bresky, EVP, Consumer Board division.

Stora Enso signed a joint development agreement with Sulapac in May 2018 to license its materials and technology. The development of the demo straw, launched at Slush 2018, is a joint collaboration between Stora Enso and Sulapac – a cooperation which complements Stora Enso’s extensive biocomposite portfolio.

Eco-awareness is a strong driver for consumer demand, and our customers want help in replacing non-renewable materials. Different biocomposite solutions, such as renewable caps and closures and straws will be add-ons and a complement to our own consumer board portfolio, bringing additional value to our customers, said Hannu Kasurinen, SVP Head of Liquid Packaging and Carton Board.

Sulapac’s material works in existing extrusion lines and the target is to have the straws commercially available in Q2 2019.

“Today, we proudly announce that we are launching a demo for a recyclable, microplastic-free and marine biodegradable straw. This is the world’s most sustainable straw that can be produced on an industrial scale and we have jointly developed it with Stora Enso. Billions of plastic straws are produced and used every week. This straw has the potential to be a true game-changer,” said Suvi Haimi, Co-founder, and CEO of Sulapac, here seen giving a background to the company and its technology during the 2018 PulPaper conference in Helsinki, Finland.

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