THERE IS an increasing understanding of the fact that the world needs to go from a linear economy to a circular one. In practice, this means that artefacts and materials earlier considered as waste become new raw materials. At Walki, a company producing technical laminates and packaging materials, this way of thinking permeates all operations.
“We have for long been producing bio-based packaging and sustainability has been important for us. However, now it has even become a central part of our strategy”, explains Annika Sundell, Executive Vice President, Innovation.
WALKI HAS set a roadmap according to which operations and products are developed; packaging should be recyclable, compostable and/or renewable.
“We need a wide set of tools for making sustainable packaging. To meet the needs of different customers, we need many options, as there is not one solution that fits all.”
Sundell points out that the current packaging materials have been developed over a long time and, moreover, the material flows for packaging have not yet been optimised for a circular economy.
“This is naturally a big transition that will take time. We can take small steps in the right direction, say, by replacing a plastic layer with a bio-based one. However, we cannot solve this problem by ourselves – deep cooperation throughout the whole value chain is needed.”
MANY OF THE PACKAGING materials for consumer products contain various materials with different properties. Regarding plastic, the trend now goes towards mono-materials, which are easier to recycle.
“The new materials need to be as good as the previous ones. Nobody is prepared to sacrifice hygiene or shelf life. It is also important to remember that the right amount of packaging can save tremendous amounts of resources – if we don’t pack our food it will lead to a lot of food wastage.”
Business sector: Technical laminates and packaging materials
Turnover: 317 MEUR
Major markets: Europe, Asia