Author: Isabelle Kliger
EPS has traditionally been used for food packaging because of its good insulation qualities. But the plastic tends to end up in our seas. That is about to change as Stora Enso’s new EcoFishBoxTM hits the market.
Every year, large amounts of plastic waste, from materials such as EPS, end up in the world’s seas and lakes. Studies show that residues from this waste are present in the internal organs of saltwater fish and other species.
Not anymore. The new EcoFishBoxTM from Stora Enso is set to revolutionise the way in which fresh fish is packaged. The new corrugated board box is 100% recyclable and takes up seven times less space than a conventional Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) box. A state-of-the-art laminate liner solution from Walki provides an effective barrier to moisture, water and fat.
Stora Enso partners with Walki to develop new eco-packaging solution for fish
Finnish pulp and paper giant Stora Enso has decades-long experience of developing all manner of corrugated board packaging. Its latest innovation is a new version of its established waterproof, leak-tight corrugated board solution that has now been adapted for the fish industry. The EcoFishBoxTM is made of materials approved for food contact, and complies with the hygiene standards for food packaging.
“Traditionally, EPS has been the packaging solution of choice for fish – because it’s light, with good insulation qualities," explains Vesa Penttinen, Sales Development Manager, Stora Enso Packaging Solutions. “However, the recycling process for this fossil-based packaging material is not comprehensive and it poses a serious threat to the environment."
And in talks with customers, Stora Enso found out that in addition to the environmental problems, the productivity of the fish packaging process also needed to improve.
“This new product will not only reduce packaging costs but also facilitate a huge leap in productivity," says Penttinen.
Stora Enso’s virgin fibre corrugated board packages are made of renewable Nordic wood fibre. Corrugated board packaging is fully recyclable, and the recycling rates are among the highest in the world. In Finland, 99% of all collected corrugated board material is recycled.
Furthermore, corrugated packaging offers savings of up to 60% when it comes to waste handling, transport and recycling costs. In comparison with an EcoFishBoxTM, which is delivered as a flat corrugated board sheet, a traditional EPS box takes up seven times as much space in storage and during transport.
“It’s reasonable to assume that seven times less space means seven times fewer trucks on the road and seven times less pollution," says Jan-Anders Fagerhed, Sales Manager at Walki.
The EcoFishBoxTM is not only better for the environment – tests have also shown that it offers good insulation for fish logistics. Its outstanding waterproof, moisture-proof and fat-proof properties are the result of two fibre-based barrier liner solutions provided by Walki. The outside liner is a Walki-Line Aqua PE-laminate, while the inside liner is a Walki-Line Ultra PET-laminate.
“Each liner has a thin polymer layer that provides an effective barrier against contaminants like water and moisture and leaking agents like fat," says Fagerhed. “The combination of the two liners makes the box waterproof, and fat proof on the inside."
Another advantage of corrugated board boxes is good printability. Company logos, images and other information can be printed directly on the corrugated board material in up to five colours, giving the packaging a more premium appearance.
The EcoFishBox™ was announced as one of the winners of the Scanstar Nordic packaging competition and the World Star Packaging competition in 2017.