Ahlstrom Ups Base Paper Technology to Create Plastic and Film Packaging Replacements

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by KnowESG
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Ahlstrom has identified unique technology enabling highly developed base papers—the key to solving the barrier needs in flexible packaging while still utilising the intrinsic end-of-life benefits that paper has to provide—through continual innovation and partnership with brand owners.

Ahlstrom has a unique set of capabilities and a broad range of technical applications that enable them to create some of the best-performing base papers available.

“Paper substrates can be engineered to exploit the inherent value of cellulose itself,” explained Zack Leimkuehler, Vice President Business Development for Ahlstrom. “Cellulose by itself is a very good barrier, and highly developed base papers can deliver barrier properties.”

Paper is a great material for flexible packaging. It can be used for a wide range of things, from being very flexible and easy to fold to being able to be printed on. Paper is easily sealed and glued and adheres nicely to other structures. Furthermore, paper performs well in hard conversion processes.

Ahlstrom has kept researching to improve its base paper to get the barrier qualities needed to unlock the environmental benefits that paper can bring to flexible packaging. The invention and optimisation of base papers significantly improve the paper's barrier performance.

“The base papers we have developed and continue to advance are the best to create flexible packaging with combined barrier technology,” Leimkuehler continued. "The end-use packaging applications we have brought to market are the first in the world to have all the qualities needed to replace traditional structures made of plastic. We have already developed and launched the ability to solve the substitution for PFAS with our proprietary FluoroFree® technology, demonstrating grease-barrier equivalent to that of historic performance. As an example, using this knowledge, we have unlocked the potential of replacing plastic-based components in a traditional pet food bag with materials that can maintain freshness and storage while providing a curbside recyclable solution.”

“We are well positioned to push the boundaries of what fibre-based flexible packaging can do,” said Robin Guillaud, Executive Vice President Sustainability, Innovation, and Marketing. “A constant process of base paper innovation, product development, and design is in Ahlstrom’s DNA and enables us to respond to the needs of our customers, which in turn are affected by end-user behaviour. This enables flexibility throughout the value chain and speed-to-market of sustainable packaging solutions and continues to position Ahlstrom as the preferred speciality sustainable packaging supplier in the marketplace.”

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