Paper packaging of tissue has woken a lot of interest and many producers have made tests and trials together with the packaging machinery suppliers. Several producers already offer paper packed tissue often alongside with existing products. Most of the focus has been on wrapping, bundlers are still on their way and pallet packaging probably comes even further in the future. Paper is used in several different ways and is capable of effectively replacing plastics.
To have similar properties as plastic it can be laminated or extruded with plastic. To get a more sustainable product paper can be coupled with ecological bioplastics made from starches and plant waste. Fully compostable, recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials have been developed based on bioplastic surfacing. These are more affordable and better available than bioplastics alone, but still an expensive solution that can be difficult to imagine everywhere in the very near future.
However, in a wide extent it is likely to be available sooner than packing in only bioplastics. In addition to limitations in the performance, paper packaging material, thermo-sealable but not coated, is somewhat more expensive than normal poly. Coated materials are even more expensive. With several of the alternatives for coating or sealing, the problem is that the material cannot be re-pulped and this makes the operation much more complicated and increases costs.
Packaging machine suppliers have been active and enthusiastic in developing machinery for paper packing. The ability to use paper can be retrofitted to most wrappers with reasonable cost. The existing machinery is not revolutionarily changed, but the paper packing is interchangeable and compatible with current type of machinery. Most package sizes can be
produced with similar speed and efficiency than poly. Adding some paper packing in
the portfolio can thus be relatively easy.
Casepacking is another fibrebased solution that has been offered. Casepacking can be sustainable, biodegradable, offers more protection than poly bundlers and can be used in sales directly to customers, for instance as an e-commerce ready product. Rolls in the box
can be un-wrapped or paper wrapped as boxes protect them quite well. For smaller streams case packing can be a sustainable and relatively fast achievable solution.