Finding sustainable alternatives to plastics

Finding sustainable alternatives to plastics

This third chapter in our article series “Ahlstrom-Munksjö Specialties sustainability journey” focusses on how we help to create a more sustainable tomorrow by developing planet friendly product alternatives.

Sustainability needs to be custom-sized: what is sustainable for one process or one product might not be the best fit for the next. At Ahlstrom-Munksjö, we aim to find the best solutions for each specific product or solution we provide.

A plastic-free tea bag that you can compost

Reducing waste is one of the challenges that Ahlstrom-Munksjö targeted in developing its new tea filter solutions: we look at recycling as a step forward and composting as a solution.

Traditional Heat Sealable tea bags are made with a small amount of plastic to allow the two layers to adhere together. As part of our focus on sustainability, the new ‘Fiber+’ product range offers a plastic-free, certified compostable tea bag material combining high performance with a special focus on reducing the environmental impact at end of life.

The Fiber+ technology consists in replacing the fossil-based plastics by Poly Lactic Acid; a natural polymer made of sustainably grown cultures. PLA is a ‘bio plastic’ that is considered plastic free.

Fiber+ is certified compostable by TUV Austria with the OK Compost Industrial label. Consumer can responsibly dispose of Fiber+ teabags in their local council food bin or organic waste collection.

Trays and cooking molds made with paper

As an alternative to aluminum and plastic packaging; food trays and baking molds can be made with NatureMold™, a material which is biodegradable and certified home compostable.

NatureMold™ is made with Genuine Vegetable Parchment, which is a material composed of 100% FSC™ certified pulp. As it has great grease resistance and can be used up to 220°C/428°F, it is ideal for most cooking and baking processes.

NatureMold™ is biodegradable and most of its variants are certified TÜV Austria OK Compost HOME.

A revolution in the tape business

In the tape market, fiber-based tapes are progressively replacing plastic-based ones, but 

Ahlstrom-Munksjö has developed and patented a breakthrough production method in which the impregnating step of the tape base can be skipped: this technology is called D-tape.they are not compostable: the main obstacle lies in the impregnating process where a petrochemical material is used to avoid the glue being absorbed into the tape material.

The resulting tape is fully biodegradable and fiber-based that doesn’t leave any plastic or microplastics residue since it is plastic free.

Other great examples of compostable products

But these are only a few of the sustainable alternatives we offer to the market: We also make coffee capsules lids for single serve espresso that is fully compostable; our range of Genuine Vegetable Parchment baking paper is certified Home compostable; we produce Cristal Evolution, a highly transparent paper for envelopes windows allowing for an all-paper envelope, 100% recyclable and biodegradable. Additionally, we also provide polylactic acid based horticulture bags to make gardening greener.

Remember to come back next month to read about other powerful initiatives that are taking place in the Specialties Business Area to drive innovative and sustainable solutions for every day products!

Ahlstrom-Munksjö’ s Specialties Business Area provides a wide range of advanced paper and nonwovens used in everyday products:

  • Our sustainable flexible packaging are there to cook, pack, wrap and protect food and non-food consumer goods
  • Our filter webs help to reveal all the right flavors of tea and coffee
  • Our quality label and graphic papers open creative opportunities; whether for bottle labelling, envelop windows or repositionable notes
  • Our single-use medical fabrics safeguard staff and patients against infections
  • Our quality masking tape backings help to execute perfect paint jobs
  • Our water purification, laboratory filtration, life science and food processing filtration advanced liquid technologies help make the world a safer place