Sulapac: Packaging material made of wood composite to challenge plastic
Sulapac, based in Helsinki, is the world's first company to make ecological packaging from wood chips and biodegradable natural binders.
The aim with the invention is to replace plastic packaging used for cosmetics.
"When you look around in your bathroom, you will see a huge amount of plastic containers. This realisation made us focus on the cosmetics sector," says Suvi Haimi, one of the two founders of Sulapac.
The company's wood-composite packages are of high quality and aesthetic. To begin with, manufacture will focus on cosmetics and luxury packaging. In future, the concept will be expanded to premium-level food and drink packages.
Haimi founded Sulapac in February 2016 with Laura Kyllönen, both biochemists with a dissertation on medical biomaterials. Sulapac was created when the biomaterial expertise of Kyllönen and Haimi was combined with the wood composite expertise of Petro Lahtinen and Antti Pärssinen.
"The process of converting the innovation into a commercial product was made easier because we were able to make use of our expertise about which biomaterial is suitable to which environment," says Haimi.
Biodegradable packaging has been available on the market before Sulapac, but few have been waterproof. Sulapac products have plastic-like properties, that is, suitable for keeping in water and creams, in addition to being impervious to oxygen.
The packaging appearance can be tailored to customer requirements.
"Another advantage is that it can be produced in large batches like plastic. This makes the product extremely competitive."
Efficient production model created with help from Tekes
Cooperation with Tekes helped Sulapac to develop a production technology that was discovered thanks to the project that just ended.
"We started off with a curious situation, because without the funding we would have been extremely limited in the production alternatives to choose for testing. Tekes enabled us to test a variety of alternatives to find the one yielding the best results in a cost-effective way," says Haimi.
Sulapac is targeting growth. It is currently negotiating with a number of brands about creating partnerships. There has been so much enthusiasm to fund the invention that the first round of funding totalled one million euros.
"Our big vision is to make Sulapac the leading ecological packaging material for the large packaging market. We are currently seeking customers to join us and enter the international market. Internationalism is created through global brands."
For further information, please contact
suvi.haimi (at) sulapac.com
tel. +358 440 291 203
Text: Inari Anttila, Kaiku Helsinki