1. What is Sulapac®made of?
The main components of Sulapac® are biodegradable biopolymers and sustainable fillers like side stream wood and natural clay minerals. All raw materials are sustainably sourced and food contact approved. The wood ingredient comes from wood industry’s processing side streams. The bio-based content in all our recipes is maximized. Sulapac Universal and Sulapac Premium are 100% bio-based materials. All our materials contain 20–100% recycled content.
2. What can Sulapac® be used for?
Sulapac® is developed to replace conventional plastic in variety of products including cosmetic packaging, cutlery, straws, kitchenware and takeaway packaging among countless other application possibilities. Your imagination is the limit!
3. How can my company start using Sulapac®?
Sulapac materials have been designed for existing plastic converting machinery, so no major investments needed there. Just select the manufacturing technology you are using and find the best material for your needs. Our sales people are also more than happy to help choosing the right materials to trial. You can contact them by submitting this form.
If you are looking for ready made products made of Sulapac, please have a look what our partners have to offer. Whether it’s the cosmetics applications, cutlery, straw or 3D filaments, together we’ve got you covered.
4. Why is Sulapac® a sustainable choice?
a. Sulapac® is safe for people and the planet: The bio-based and biodegradable Sulapac materials leave no persistent microplastics or toxic load behind at any stage of the life cycle. Their carbon footprint is low. If a Sulapac product accidentally ends up in nature, it biodegrades into CO2, water, and biomass in a similar timeframe as a tree leave or a piece of natural wood and without releasing hazardous chemicals that could harm the ecosystem. When incinerated, there are less harmful gases compared to polypropylene (PP) for example. All raw materials used are food contact compliant and industrially compostable.
b. Sulapac® is circular by design: The Sulapac materials are made with recycled content, meaning waste-based and side stream raw materials. They are industrially compostable and suitable for chemical and mechanical recycling.
5. How should I dispose a Sulapac® packaging or product after use?
The manufacturer of the product is responsible for providing adequate guidance on the proper disposal method. The information we share on our webpage is applicable to the material only. In case there are no proper instructions, Sulapac can be safely discarded with mixed waste/energy waste. When incinerated, the CO2 and CO emissions are smaller compared to that of polypropylene (PP), for example. For some tips on how to reuse your packaging, have a quick peek into our blog.
6. Are Sulapac® materials and products recyclable?
Yes. The mechanical and chemical recyclability of Sulapac materials has been demonstrated by independent third parties. Chemical recyclability of Sulapac (excluding Barrier and Heat recipes) has been tested and proven technically feasible by a third-party industrial company. Via chemical recycling the carbon within the material can circulate almost endlessly. The technology for chemical recycling of bio-based and biodegradable materials exists, but the infrastructure is still under development.
Field tests have also verified that Sulapac materials can be collected and sorted out of a mixed waste stream. When collected together, Sulapac materials do not interfere with the current mechanical recycling of conventional fossil-based or bio-based non-biodegradable plastics.
Sulapac materials are also industrially compostable and most of them possess a BPI or Seedling certificate. However, that the compostability of an end-product must be separately verified by the company responsible for its manufacturing. Furthermore, the recycling systems and infrastructure vary regionally, always check detailed instructions with your local waste management authority.
7. Can I put my Sulapac® product into home compost?
It is not adviced to put a Sulapac® product to home compost, as the conditions, such as temperature, microbial consortium and moisture, differ from those of industrial composting. Hence, the biodegradation in home composting environment may take considerably longer than in an industrial composting plant. In the future, some of our materials will be certified for home composting as well.
Please note that Sulapac cannot guarantee the compostability of an end-product. The company who manufactures and markets the end-product is responsible for that. We do our best to advise our client companies to provide as clear instructions as possible to their customers.
8. How is Sulapac® different from conventional plastic?
Sulapac materials are bio-based (made of renewable raw materials), whereas conventional plastic is fossil-based, which makes Sulapac a climate friendly alternative to traditional plastic. Sulapac biodegrades fully without leaving permanent microplastics behind. So, if it accidentally ends up in nature, it causes no longterm harm to the ecosystem. The Sulapac straw, for example, biodegrades in a similar timeframe as certain tree leaves in nature. To compare, for an item made of conventional plastic it takes hundreds, even thousands of years to degrade, and it may release toxic substances.
The wood-based Sulapac® materials also have a very distinctive, beautiful look and feel – it’s easy to tell they are something completely different than traditional plastic.
9. Sulapac® biodegrades without leaving permanent microplastics behind. What does it mean?
Microplastics are plastic particles that are smaller than 5 millimeters in size in at least one dimension. Microplastic releasing materials such as conventional plastics cannot be digested by naturally-occurring microorganisms, and therefore, remain in nature for hundreds of years. Microplastics usually contain hazardous substances. Moreover, as they degrade into even smaller nanoparticles, they can be harmful for living organisms.
Sulapac® materials, then again, can be digested by naturally occurring microorganisms. As all other biopolymers, such as collagen and native cellulose, Sulapac disintegrates first into tiny particles. However, after disintegration, the Sulapac particles biodegrade fully into CO2 (CH4 if no oxygen is present), water and biomass, meaning that no permanent microplastic or hazardous chemicals are left behind during the use phase or end-of-life. Thus, Sulapac materials do not contribute to long term accumulation of microplastic in nature.
10. Where can I buy Sulapac® products?
Sulapac® is used by brands worldwide. Products manufactured of or packed in Sulapac can be found on the Find products section on our web site. Sulapac® straws are available for consumers via several web stores.
If you are interested in our starws in larger volumes, or the Nordic Collection jars, ask for an offer and we will shortly be in touch.
11. What is a circular economy and how is Sulapac® part of it?
A circular economy is a global economic model that decouples growth and development from the growth of raw material consumption. It aims to design out waste and pollution and keep products, components and materials in loop at their highest utility and value. The Ellen McArthur Foundation describes circular economy as “a new way to design, make, and use things within planetary boundaries”.
Sulapac® is circular by design. The main components of Sulapac® are biodegradable plant-based binders and wood. The wood we use originates from sustainably managed forests, meaning it’s truly renewable and doesn’t contribute to deforestation. In fact, no tree is being cut down for us, as the wood chips and wood flour that we use come from industrial side streams – in other words, we turn wood waste into valuable products.
Promotion of circular economy is one of Sulapac’s key priorities. By only utilizing raw materials that are inherently safe for people and the environment we can promote cycles which are safe on the molecular level. Our ambitious objective has been to develop ‘bio-benign’ materials that would reduce the negative impacts on natural systems when leaked, while also being recyclable and competitive in terms of functionality and costs. Our leading design principle is to mimic nature. The use of biomass resources is based on the natural carbon cycle: in photosynthesis plants convert CO2 from the air and water into biomass with the help of solar energy. If a Sulapac product accidentally ends up in nature, it doesn’t accumulate in the food chain, as it can be eaten up by naturally-occurring microorganisms.
A Sulapac jar, for example, can be reused for multiple purposes after its initial function. When the item reaches its end of life, it can be recycled via industrial composting*, a form of material recycling that brings renewable resources for the economy. The mechanical recycling of Sulapac® Premium has been demonstrated by VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland indicating that mechanical properties of the material last up to five cycles. Chemical recycling via pyrolysis is also an interesting option which we are currently investigating.
Circularity is rooted deep in Sulapac’s strategy and business model. In terms of our operations, processes and recipes we are committed to continual improvement in order to further minimize the environmental impact of our business and reduce our ecological footprint. As a member of the CE100 network, Sulapac was offered an opportunity to take part in the development of Circulytics, a new circularity measurement tool by Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation, which helps companies to recognize key focus areas and track their progress over time.
*Always check the detailed recycling instructions from your local waste management authority or municipality.
12. Is Sulapac® suitable for vegans?
Yes, Sulapac is vegan friendly. It contains no animal products or by-products, and it has not been tested on animals.
13. What certifications does Sulapac® have?
All Sulapac’s materials have the biobased content certified by the USDA BioPreferred® Program, ASTM D6866. Universal Flex 30 Low Flow is Industrially compostable according to Seedling EN13432 and ASTM D6400 and in addition to this, the remaining materials in our portfolio are either already recognised by BPI ASTM D6400 as being industrially compostable or are in the process of being certified. Sulapac holds FSC-certification (FSC-C158142), and our Premium range is available as FSC-certified, with more materials to be included. Sulapac as a company is proud to be both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.