UPM and Fazer develop recyclable paper packaging

The new paper food packaging eliminates plastic lining, ensuring the recyclability of the packaging without compromising food safety.

UPM Specialty Papers and food brand Fazer have jointly developed paper packaging without plastic lining for Fazer's Oat Rice Pies.

The new paper packaging does not compromise on the protection it provides to the rice pies inside. The new packaging is in line with both Fazer's sustainable packaging vision and UPM's Biofore strategy.

The new packaging paper is the result of more than two years of development work to ensure the recyclability of the packaging without compromising food safety and the quality of the rice pies. The packaging has been recognized in the WorldStar, ScanStar and New Wood competitions and can be found in the chill food aisles of Finnish supermarkets.

Piia Soininen-Tengvall, Fazer's director of packaging development, said: ‘We are working closely with the packaging value chain to achieve Fazer's responsible packaging goals. Each partner brings valuable expertise to the development work. This project combined Fazer's expertise in food production and the production process while also ensuring food safety, with UPM specialty papers' expertise in developing demanding specialty papers.

‘We are impressed with how well the new, easier to recycle packaging protects and preserves the high quality of the oat rice pies until the best before date. The packaging works on our existing packaging process and achieves all this by reducing fossil-based materials.'

Food packaging has protective properties that have traditionally been provided by plastic packaging or by laminating plastic to the surface of paper. The use of plastic has also enabled the package to be sealed with heat.

In the packaging paper developed by UPM Specialty Papers, both the barrier and heat seal properties have been incorporated into the packaging paper without a separate layer of plastic lamination.

The barrier properties are designed to protect the product inside the package until the best-before date, while ensuring that, for example, grease in the product cannot penetrate the package.

Susanna Hyrkäs, senior manager, sustainability, UPM specialty papers, said: ‘Packaging papers have the advantage of being recyclable within a widely established fiber recycling infrastructure. Today, more than 80 percent of the fiber-based packaging material used in Europe is recycled. Our product development is always based on the premise of ensuring recyclability, in addition to ensuring product safety and the required functional properties.'

The new oat rice pies packaging is based on the UPM Confidio barrier paper, which is heat-sealable. As per the company, in recyclability test, the recycling reject of unprinted UPM Confidio paper is about 1 percent. It means that about 99 percent of the paper can be used to create new, recycled products. The recycling reject of plastic-coated paper packaging is significantly higher.