1. WHAT IS SULAPAC® MADE OF?
The main components of Sulapac® are wood and plant-based binders. Sulapac Universal and Sulapac Premium are 100% bio-based materials. All Sulapac® materials are made from sustainably sourced, GMO-free raw materials that are food contact approved (EU). The wood ingredient comes from wood industry’s processing side streams. The bio-based material content in all our recipes is maximized.
2. WHAT CAN SULAPAC® BE USED FOR?
Sulapac® is a sustainable alternative for conventional plastic. Although not all plastic can or should be replaced, the number of possibilities is vast. Sulapac® can be used as packaging for everything from cosmetics to foodstuff and jewelry. There are also countless application possibilities outside of packaging: Sulapac Universal material is suitable for rigid products such as clothing hangers, personal care items, rocket cones and more – your imagination is the limit. Have you already tested the Sulapac® straw?
3. HOW CAN MY COMPANY START USING SULAPAC®?
If you are interested in the Sulapac Premium material for injection molding, simply ask for an offer. For optimal compatibility, please consult Sulapac experts regarding the injection molding machinery, from nozzle size to mold selection.
If you are interested in replacing your current straws with the sustainable Sulapac® straws, ask for a quote.
If you are looking for beautiful and sustainable cosmetic packaging, see the Sulapac® Nordic Collection.
4. WHY IS SULAPAC® A SUSTAINABLE CHOICE?
Sulapac® is safe and circular by design. Sulapac® materials can be recycled via industrial composting. They fully biodegrade without leaving microplastics behind. They are made of sustainably sourced raw materials taking advantage of wood waste from industrial side streams. Most of our recipes are 100% bio-based.
By replacing conventional plastic with Sulapac® you help solving the global plastic waste problem. If a Sulapac product accidentally ends up in nature, it will biodegrade into CO2, water and biomass without releasing hazardous chemicals that could harm the ecosystem. When incinerated, the greenhouse gas emissions are very small compared to polypropylene (PP) for example.
5. HOW SHOULD I DISPOSE A SULAPAC® PACKAGING OR PRODUCT AFTER USE?
The preferred disposal method is industrial composting, which means the material degrades into CO2, water and biomass in a biowaste treatment plant. Separate biowaste collection exists in many countries and regions already, and by 2023 it’s set to be mandatory in the EU. A compostability certificate such as the Seedling may be required in order for the product to be accepted in the recycling system. Always check detailed recycling instruction with your local waste management authority. Our Premium Plus material and the Sulapac straw have the Seedling certificate, which verifies that a product or packaging can be composted in the majority of composting plants in the EU. We are in the process of getting the certification for our other materials as well. Please note that brands using Sulapac® material or packaging are responsible for ensuring the compostability of the end-product and its communication to the end-users.
In case the industrial composting is not a feasible option, Sulapac packaging and straw can be disposed with energy waste. When incinerated, the CO2 and CO emmissions are smaller compared to that of polypropylene (PP), for example.
In a home compost the breakdown of Sulapac® may take considerable amount of time, as the conditions are milder compared to industrial compost. Home composting is something we are currently experimenting with.
6. ARE SULAPAC® PRODUCTS RECYCLABLE?
Sulapac® materials, Nordic Collection jars and the Sulapac® straw are recyclable via industrial composting, a form of organic recycling. The compostability has been tested according to EN 13432 (The European standard for industrial compostability for packaging). As the recycling systems and infrastructure vary regionally, always check detailed instructions with your local waste management authority. The compostability of an end-product must be verified by the company responsible for its manufacturing.
Other recycling options are currently under investigation. Potential future recycling methods include mechanical and chemical recycling, either as separately collected waste streams or within plastic waste streams. In our preliminary tests it has been shown that Sulapac Premium material can be mechanically recycled up to six times.
7. CAN I PUT MY SULAPAC® PRODUCT INTO HOME COMPOST?
The preferred recycling method for Sulapac® is industrial composting. Sulapac® has been tested according to EN 13432, which is the European standard that sets the criteria and test scheme for industrially compostable packaging. EN 13432 is not applicable to home composting, in which 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. We’ll let you know, once we have the certificate at hand.
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 end-customers.
8. HOW IS SULAPAC® DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONAL PLASTIC?
Sulapac® biodegrades fully without leaving microplastics behind. So, if it accidentally ends up in nature, it will not harm the ecosystem. For an item made of conventional plastic it takes hundreds of years to disappear in nature, and it may release toxic substances, whereas the Sulapac straw, for example, dissolves in a similar timeframe as certain tree leaves. Sulapac materials are bio-based (some even 100%), whereas conventional plastic is fossil-based, which makes Sulapac® a climate friendly alternative to traditional plastic.
9. SULAPAC® BIODEGRADES WITHOUT LEAVING 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 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. Microplastic-free materials such as Sulapac® can be digested by naturally occurring microorganisms, and eventually biodegrade into CO2, H2O and biomass. If a Sulapac® product accidentally ends up in the natural environment, it biodegrades fully and leaves no microplastics or harmful chemicals behind.
10. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SULAPAC UNIVERSAL MATERIAL AND SULAPAC PREMIUM MATERIAL?
The look and feel, as well as production-related characteristics are slightly different. Sulapac Universal material contains wood flour and is designed to fit perfectly to existing production lines and molds. It allows you to start producing sustainable products with minimal investment. Sulapac Premium material has large wood chips visible with a haptic touch. It is the perfect fit for sustainable products that aim for that exclusive feel. For optimal compatibility for injection molding machinery, please consult Sulapac experts. Both materials are fully biodegradable, microplastic-free and 100% bio-based.
11. 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 currently available for consumers via biofutura.com.
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.
12. 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 biodegrades fully without leaving microplastics behind. It doesn’t accumulate in the food chain, as it can be eaten up by microorganisms in nature.
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 models. 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.
13. 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.