Sustainable packaging

The sustainability of a package is the sum of many things, such as its raw materials and their sourcing, the manufacturing process, and the safety, functionality and recyclability of the finished product.

The most important function of packaging is to ensure the safety of a product for consumers. Packaging protects products during transport, prolongs product life and conveys important information about the composition and use of products.

Paperboards can reduce or replace the use of plastics in many packaging end uses, and the application areas will widen as the properties of paperboards are further developed.

Consumers use daily approximately 160 million packages made of Metsä Board’s folding boxboard. By reducing paperboard weight by 1%, material savings equivalent to 1.6 million packages per day can be achieved. 

Sustainability in packaging is promoted by

  1. 1

    Tracking the origin of raw materials

    One of our biggest advantages is that the entire wood raw material value chain from forest to board mill via pulp mill is managed by Metsä Group’s various business units. All the wood fibre we use is traceable, and we will continue to improve the traceability of the chemicals and other raw materials we use as well as the materials used to package our end products.

    Our target is that in addition to the origin of wood fibre, we will know the manufacturing country of all our raw materials and packaging materials by the end of 2030. In 2021, we knew the country of manufacture with regard to 98% of the total purchases of our raw materials and packaging materials.

  2. 2

    Aiming for 100% fossil free materials

    Our paperboards are produced primarily from renewable wood fibre, and we aim to use only fossil-free raw materials and packaging materials by the end of 2030. Therefore, we are actively seeking substitutes for fossil oil-based raw materials such as latex and polyethylene coating and for the plastic used to wrap our products.

    In 2021, fossil free raw materials and packaging materials represented 99% of the volume per dry tonne. In our product development, we pay attention to the smallest details so that our products are safe for both the environment and people. For example, our products do not contain fluorochemicals, genetically modified raw materials or nanotechnology-based substances.

  3. 3

    Focusing on lightweighting and fossil free, resource-efficient production

    From the perspective of paperboard’s climate impact and carbon footprint, the energy mix used in its production and the lightness of the material are the most relevant factors. The carbon footprint of our products will become even smaller as we move towards 100% fossil free energy use in our production processes.

    Lightweight paperboards offer the benefits of heavier grades, such as stiffness, while reducing environmental impact at all stages of a product's life cycle: they require less raw material, energy and water, reduce transport weights and generate less waste. 

  4. 4

    Choosing recyclable packaging materials

    Our paperboard products are designed to be recycled. Ultimately, however, recyclability depends on the local collection and recycling infrastructure available. Metsä Board participates actively in the 4evergreen and European Paper Packaging Alliance communities, which promote the recyclability of fibre-based packaging and food and food service packaging.

    If recycling is not possible, all Metsä Board paperboards, excluding PE-coated grades, can be composted as they have been certified for industrial compostability complying with the DIN EN 13432 and ASTM D6400 standards. In addition, some of our paperboard grades also hold a home compostability certificate according to the NF T 51–800 standard.

     

  5. 5

    Supporting sustainability with good packaging design

    Well-designed packaging helps to reduce environmental impact throughout the value chain. Well-designed packaging means packaging that: is fit for purpose; saves resources; streamlines transportation, storage and shelving; and is easy to recycle or reuse.

    Metsä Board's packaging analysis and design services, in cooperation with our customers, develop innovative, ecological and user-friendly packaging solutions that meet the needs of future consumers.

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Fact not fiction - Improving packaging sustainability

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