Anglo-Swedish linkup aims to globalise plastic alternative

Posted on 8 Jul 2014 by The Manufacturer

A partnership aimed at internationally establishing a new paper product able to carry the weight of an adult and be composted within 100 days has been announced.

Paper and technical fibres manufacturer James Cropper has confirmed the linkup with Scandinavian company Södra to establish DuraPulp, a lightweight, sustainable alternative to plastic.

The potential of DuraPulp led to Lake District-based firm developing applications for the bio-composite material with its Swedish counterpart, in a move which stimulated interest amongst other manufacturers to integrate it into packaging and product design.

James Cropper and Södra’s agreement aims to further establish DuraPulp in sectors such as luxury fashion, cosmetics, automotive and interior design sectors as part of an international campaign.

The blend of 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 at 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.”

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.