Arla Oy is set to be the first company in Finland to use renewable wood-based bioplastics in gable-top paperboards for milk, yoghurt and cooking products. The tall oil-based raw material used for the cartons was developed by Finnish company UPM.

More than 40 million of these Arla packages will be shipped to supermarkets, lined with the bioplastic material which can be recycled along with the cardboard.

“When we have a liquid product such as milk, a thin plastic film is needed inside the carton for reasons of product safety and shelf life,” says Sanna Heikfolk, Arla’s Brand & Category Manager. “In our new packaging, the source of plastic is now even more responsible because it is made of wood-based raw material.”

Sustainable wood-based bioplastic solution

The UPM BioVerno naphtha solution used to line the cartons is developed at UPM’s Lappeenranta biorefinery using a tall oil made from the residue of pulp production. The packaging itself was made by Elopak, with the Dow Chemical company also involved in the collaboration. According to UPM, the use of these wood-based bioplastics in Arla’s gable top cartons will reduce the need for fossil-based plastics by 180,000 kg per year, as well as cutting the packaging’s carbon footprint by around a fifth.

“A conventional milk carton is usually about 85% paperboard. We wanted to launch a type of packaging that would be 100% wood-based and in which the plastic would also be wood-based,” says Elopak Managing Director Juha Oksanen.