Going green on the go

​Answering to the packaging needs of a growing market for takeaway food, Metsä Board’s new eco-barrier paperboard offers a sustainable and cost-efficient option.


​At the offices of OffsetKolmio Oy, a printing house situated in Hämeenlinna, Finland, the company’s Managing Director Kimmo Jokinen has laid out a selection of test packages printed on MetsäBoard Pro FSB EB1 eco-barrier paperboard, including popcorn and taco boxes. Complementing Metsä Board’s product range of PE extrusion coated paperboards, the new board is made of fresh fibres and the barrier coating uses bio-based components and natural minerals. It is recyclable; a true eco-product for the growing food service sector.

OffsetKolmio, a family business celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is Metsä Board’s long-time partner for testing and trial runs. The company has found the eco-barrier paperboard to offer real advantages at the printing and converting stage.

“We have been able to reduce the print costs without compromising the quality or barrier properties of the board. Print machine time for barrier treatment was reduced by 50%, and 65% less varnish was needed thanks to the special barrier treatment of the board,” Jokinen says.

Previously, when converting paperboard for food service use without this special pre-treatment on the reverse side, OffsetKolmio had to apply two layers of varnishing to reach the targeted barrier properties against grease, while the eco-barrier requires only one additional layer, with a minor amount of coating. This results in significant savings with regards to the resource efficiency of the production process, further contributing to the sustainability of the product. 

Kimmo Jokinen, Huovisen Leipomo

Optimal solution

The first packaging in commercial use to showcase an additional competitive quality of the eco-barrier paperboard is a baguette pack used by a Finnish artisan bakery, Huovisen Leipomo. Previously, the bakery used PE-coated board in its packaging, which was originally developed for products requiring also moisture resistance. This resulted in condensation forming inside the pack, making the baguette soggy and unappetizing. The breathable eco-barrier paperboard, however, keeps its form and preserves the product better.

“The new board is perfect for providing sufficient protective barrier properties in cases where it is unnecessary to use PE-coating. For example, for many takeaway fast food and bakery products that only remain in contact with the packaging for a short while. They are usually packed in boxes made of PE-coated board, or board with wax, for no specific reason,” Jokinen points out.

Considering potential applications, Metsä Board sees that the new board is well-suited for use in the fast food market, for packaging foods such as hamburgers, chips and nuggets. According to Metsä Board’s Mikko Mannola, VP Sales, Food Service Board, the company has high expectations for its first eco-barrier product.

“There is considerable demand in the market for a barrier solution that combines both sustainability and efficiency benefits. Our recyclable eco-barrier board comes with a grease resistance of KIT level 5. Depending on the customer’s needs, the barrier properties can be cost-efficiently improved up to KIT level 12 at converting,” Mannola says, adding that Metsä Board’s focus is on broadening its product portfolio and continuing development work on further innovative barrier solutions.

Eco-barrier paperboard

  • Barrier made of bio-based components and natural minerals. 
  • Recyclable with conventional paper and board recycling systems. Sold under the product name MetsäBoard Pro FSB EB1.
  • Lightweight, available in basis weights of 195–290 g/m2  
  • Hard-sized to prevent edge penetration by moisture
  • Grease resistance of KIT level 5 - can be improved up to KIT level 12 at converter
  • Free of fluorochemicals and optical brighteners
  • Available with PEFC™ or FSC© certification 
  • Enables high-quality printing on both sides, suitable for offset and flexo printing
  • Glueable with standard dispersion and hotmelt adhesives.

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