Antti Matula, VP of Product Lines and Business Development at Kemira is closely following topics related to food waste and the plastics challenge. “Approximately 30% of all food produced ends up being wasted. At the same time, we’re waking up to a situation where very little of the plastic we use is recycled, and way too much of it ends up in the environment and ultimately in our food-chain. Both of these global challenges can be tackled and present huge opportunities for improvement. Chemistry plays an important, but invisible role there,” Antti explains.
When it comes to food packaging, fiber-based board offers a great alternative to plastics. Appropriate packaging also helps to keep the food fresh longer, safely. “Chemistry is needed for creating virtually every characteristic of fiber board used in food packaging. However, for many, the advanced chemistry and technology behind the solutions remains unseen. We want to make this invisible enabler of renewable food packaging board – chemistry – visible,” Antti says.
Regulation in a key role
People and authorities are looking for different regulatory and renewable solutions to be able to address these challenges. For example, the EU has made a commitment to tackle wasteful and damaging plastic litter through legislative action. “We at Kemira support this development,” Antti explains. “In line with the aim of the EU legislation, our current offering and long-term product development is geared towards renewable and recyclable solutions, helping to minimize the environmental impacts over the lifecycle of final products.”
It is not just EU that has activated to tackle the plastics challenge. Many US states, China and other Asian countries are introducing bans, restrictions and regulation – especially when it comes to single-use plastics. “Kemira is actively participating in these regulatory discussions to promote understanding and advantages of recyclable, renewable fiber-based packaging as a safe and hygienic alternative to plastics.”
“Without chemistry, there would be no fiber-based renewable packaging. It is the invisible ingredient that enables it all.”
“It’s clear that we cannot stop eating or packaging our food. On the contrary, it seems the take-out and ready-meals culture is on the rise,” Antti points out. “We can, however, make sure that we make long-term sensible choices. We already have a good offering of chemistries for food packaging and service board available but are constantly working to address the renewability aspect of these containers even further. Without chemistry, there would be no fiber-based renewable packaging. It is the invisible ingredient that enables it all.”
See the invisible
“As part of the Kemira team, I feel proud of how we add to the everyday of people. We’re talking about globally meaningful topics that are relevant to us all: safe and sustainably packaged food, clean water and material efficiency overall. It’s time to pay attention to the unseen hero in all of this – chemistry,” Antti concludes.