Kotkamills' Absorbex® Eco awarded in New Tree 2014 competition

Population growth and climate change are increasing the need to conserve resources. The recycling efficiency of wood-based materials is top class compared to other packaging materials. The New Tree project saves resources.

A new bioeconomy strategy has been drawn up for Finland, with the goal of creating competitive and sustainable bioeconomic solutions as well as new jobs. Strategies do not, however, implement themselves. The New Tree project aims to increase awareness of the wood-based bioeconomy – of what tangible products and solutions are already available, their impact on society and the future growth potential of the sector.

Global phenomena pose challenges to material efficiency and logistics. New Tree presents existing products and solutions offered by the wood-based bioindustry in response to challenges posed by global phenomena. The Phenomena to which the New Tree project is responding to are Urbanisation, Scarcity of resources, Digitisation, Changes in population structure and Conscious Consumption.

Urbanisation: More and more people are living in cities. Some predictions have seven out of ten people – that is, more than five billion people – living in cities and towns by 2030. How will we be able to ensure efficient but sustainable logistics for billions of people?

Scarcity of resources: The world’s population is growing rapidly, and climate change calls for more efficient energy use. How can we produce more while reducing our use of materials and energy?

Digitisation: More and more products are being purchased online. E-commerce is estimated to increase by 500% by 2020. Digitisation is not only about bytes. It is also about our ability to create new solutions in response to changes in demand and commerce.

Changes in population structure: People are living longer than ever before. Longer life expectancy will increase the need for healthcare.How is the growing number of seniors taken into account in product development?

Concious Consumption: Modern consumers expect their products to be ethical, sustainable, responsible, healthy, safe and easy to use. The pleasure a product provides and aesthetically pleasing packaging also influence purchase decisions. How can we respond to consumers’ changing needs?

Timo Tallinen, SVP Absorbex Business Line (left), together with other award-winners.

On January 29th, 2015, Kotkamills' Absorbex® Eco was awarded in the category Digitisation in the New Tree 2014 competition as a solution to re-use the growing quantities of cardboard boxes used as packaging material of e-commerce. Instead of for example burning the boxes, they are used by Kotkamills as raw material of laminating papers, together with sawdust pulp. The competition jury appreciated the innovative way to use recycled products and sidestreams of manufacture of other wood-based products. Absorbex® Eco also responds well to the challenges of Scarcity of resources.

E-commerce is predicted to increase by 500% over the next five years. This will increase the need for transport packaging. The growing piles of recycled cardboard boxes make excellent raw materials for the production of construction materials that can endure moisture and wear. The raw material for Absorbex® Eco saturating base kraft paper is produced combining recycled fibre pulp with pulp made from sawdust. Customers of Kotkamills use the saturating base kraft paper in the production of high-pressure laminates and as surface layer of wood panels, for example.

It makes more sense to reuse the fibre in cardboard packaging than to dispose of the packaging, for example, by burning it. Producing saturating base kraft paper from recycled fibre and sawdust pulp multiplies the useful life of raw fibre materials and reduces waste.

For more information, please see the Uusi puu project website.