Jaakko Kaminen: It is too late to give up using plastic, but it can be renewed using wood cellulose
The term ‘plastic’ refers to the properties of the material and means that the material is modifiable by heat. Many kinds of plastic materials exist for various purposes, and being light, durable, transparent and easily modifiable, it is often superior compared to other materials. Despite the environmental problems caused by using plastic, the demand for plastic is expected at least to double by 2050. The growth of demand originates, for example, from population growth and urbanisation.
Typically, plastics are made from oil, but renewable natural resources can also be used as their raw materials. In the transition from fossil raw materials to using renewable raw materials, wood can be utilised in a sustainable way. Besides, cellulose is the most common organic polymer in the world. The Woodly material we have developed in Finland is a plastic that is manufactured using wood cellulose. Woodly functions as before in manufacturing and in products, but it is 100% carbon neutral, and reduces the need to use fossil raw materials. We aim to launch several different kinds of packages and products in the near future and help companies to detach themselves from the fossil economy, reduce their carbon footprint and support the circular economy.
When evaluating the environmental impact of a product, it is always necessary to take the entire life cycle of the product into consideration. Woodly’s life cycle assessment has been carried out in compliance with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards, and it has been implemented by AFRY, a Finnish consulting firm specialised in life cycle assessments. Research provides a fact-based evaluation of Woodly’s environmental impact and shows that, for example, thanks to the wood cellulose we have used, more carbon emissions from the atmosphere are stored in the material than are released in its manufacture. In other words, Woodly is a carbon neutral material which can be used to reduce carbon emissions.
In spring 2020, K Group was the first operator to introduce Woodly to consumers in the Pirkka elatior begonia packages, and our cooperation will continue this summer. It was a truly significant matter for us to have the opportunity to launch the packages made of the Woodly material, especially with K Group. It has also had a positive impact on our other ongoing projects, when trading acts as a pioneer in sustainability.
We aim to make sustainability as easy as possible for consumers without sacrificing product quality. In practice this means that consumers would be able to find the products that are familiar to them in more ecological packages and recognise the Woodly material used in them from the product labelling.
For more information on Woodly both as a company and as a material, visit www.woodly.fi