Stora Enso will invest €5 million to build a new production line at its Hylte Mill facility in Sweden to manufacture formed fibre products.
The formed fibre technology will enable the manufacture of renewable, recyclable and biodegradable products that do not contain any plastic.
Potential products include single-use food packaging items such as cups, bowls, clamshells, plates and coffee cup lids.
The production line will be operated by a new business unit for formed fibre, which will also conduct research and development of new formed fibre materials and technologies.
Finland-headquartered Stora Enso said it is responding to the needs of eco-conscious consumers who are looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic.
The company said formed fibre products are manufactured from various chemical pulps and chemi-thermomechanical pulp by pressing it into a desired shape in a moulding machine. The raw material is pulp made from wood. Stora Enso will manufacture the raw material at its mills in Sweden and Finland and do the converting at Hylte Mill. The initial annual capacity during the pilot stage will be approximately 50 million units of product, with the intention to expand in the future.
Sohrab Kazemahvazi, Stora Enso vice president, head of formed fibre, said: “This investment is another step on our transformation journey to replace plastic and other fossil-based materials with renewable and recyclable alternatives. This investment allows us to help our customers build their brands as eco-friendly, circular companies.”
Last August, Stora Enso announced a €7 million investment at the Hylte facility, covering a biocomposites competence centre and the installation of machinery for the milling of large fibres for the DuraSense material, which is described as a renewable replacement for plastics.
The firm has since partnered with Sulapac to create a range of biodegradable straws.