13.07.2016

Replacing plastic bags with wooden ones

Finnish Paptic, founded in 2015, as a spinoff of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, believes in bags made of wood fiber. Behind Paptic’s business idea are the worrisome news about substantial amount of plastic waste circulating through the oceans. Their material strives to help solve the problem, by combining the best features of plastic and paper.

Finland-based Paptic’s wood-made bags are now released. Finnish retail-clothing company Seppälä will be the first company in the world to utilize the Paptic-bags.

“Our cooperation with Seppälä has been very rewarding,” says Tuomas Mustonen, CEO of Paptic. “[With Seppälä] on board the product development has accompanied the end user from the very beginning.”

“Too often many good ideas and technologies miss the right application,” he continues. Countries across the globe are becoming more conscious of the problem with excessive plastic use, and as a result are implementing new legislation to tackle the issue. In Europe, on average each citizen consumes annually 180 plastic bags. For the Finnish people the number is significantly lower: around 55-60 pieces per every citizen. However, both numbers clearly surpass the recently adopted EU regulation. According to the directive the average number should be no more than 40 plastic bags per citizen by 2025.

Even with the new legislation in place, daily groceries need to be carried – one way or another. For Paptic, the answer for the demand are wood-based bags. Paptic-material has plastic-like features such as elasticity and water resistance, holding up minor splashes. Furthermore, it does not rip like regular paper.

“We could have produced a material, which were totally waterproof,” reveals Mustonen. “However, we wanted it to be suitable for carton recycling.” 80 per cent of the material used in a single Paptic-bag is renewable, major raw-material being Finnish pulp. “Companies like Paptic are a good example of high value added business related to forest industries,” says Jari Tielinen, Senior Advisor at Invest in Finland. “Eventually, this kind of a product is an outcome of long-term research and development in the field.”

With such a prominent idea, finding new investors seems to be relatively effortless. The company landed 1.1 million euros already in its first investment round. “Next year, we plan to scale the product, raising a need for further investment,” comments Mustonen. “It has been a joy to notice how well different actors such as Tekes, Finpro and Finnvera work together in these issues.”

Source: http://www.tekes.fi/tekes/tulokset-ja-vaikutukset/caset/2016/paptic-puukuituinen-kassi-voi-korvata-muovikassin