A paper product that can carry the weight of an adult and be composted within 100 days has emerged from Sweden to compete as a lightweight, sustainable alternative to plastic. DuraPulp is the subject of a new partnership between Södra and 169 year old paper and technical fibres manufacturer James Cropper PLC, which was announced today.
The potential of DuraPulp has brought the two, global leaders in pulp and technical fibre innovation together to develop applications for the bio-composite material and stimulate interest amongst other pioneering, environmentally-minded manufacturers to integrate it into packaging and product design. James Cropper PLC. and Södra’s agreement is exclusive to premium markets, aiming to further establish DuraPulp in sectors such as luxury fashion, cosmetics, automotive and interior design sectors in a broad, international campaign.
The blend of carefully selected wood fibres and renewable, non-fossil based biopolymer can be heat pressed to take on any rigid form, or used as a sheet where there is a requirement for high tearing and bend tolerance or air permeability. Unlike other composite products, DuraPulp is believed to be the only one available where the primary content is pulp fibre and draw on 100% renewable resources, while remaining completely biodegradable.
Patrick Willink, Chief Technology Officer of James Cropper, said: “Sustainability has to be at the heart of manufacturing for the future, both for cost-effective production and the responsible protection of the environment for future generations. This is an ethos we know we share with Södra as both companies work hard to provide products that have a low carbon impact, going so far as to each generate our own electricity.
“This partnership is driven not only by the desire to help DuraPulp take on the global burden of non-degradable plastics, which are still widely used, but also to apply our key strengths of an unrivalled colour palette and international marketing expertise to a game-changing product.”
Initially borne of research by Swedish scientific research institute, Innventia, Södra has explored the adaptability of DuraPulp in a series of design-led commissions, including a paper-thin, waterproof chair, moulded packaging to cradle delicate objects in transit and an electric desk lamp. Its biodegradability has been embraced as a feature, being made into a seed pod from which plants will grow after the fibre has perished, proving that DuraPulp exists not only as the fibre of product packaging, but of the product itself.
James Cropper PLC includes not only its specialist paper and converting company, a bespoke paper and packaging supplier to the biggest names in the luxury goods market, but also sister company, Technical Fibre Products (TFP). TPF provides customised non-woven solutions for use in areas such as fire protection and aviation and it is this breadth of experience and capability that is expected to push DuraPulp into exciting, unchartered territories.
Patrick Willink goes on to say: “James Cropper and TFP’s extensive technical abilities, clearly demonstrated by our track record in product development, and global market reach, will mean that we will be able to speed up the commercialisation of DuraPulp. Together we will be exploring new markets across the world to further establish how this unique product can provide a credible alternative to fossil-based materials.”