UPM Specialty Papers and Henkel
Sustainable heat-sealable packaging concept with unprecedented resistance to grease

02.05.2023 Working closely with partners from its food packaging value network, UPM Specialty Papers is developing transformative solutions that are aimed at redefining the future of sustainable packaging. A long-standing partnership with Henkel, a global leader in the industrial and consumer sectors, has now resulted in a recyclable, heat-sealable packaging material that is compatible with existing packaging lines.

The packaging concept from UPM Specialty Papers and Henkel will be on display at interpack 2023.
© Photo: UPM Specialty Papers
The packaging concept from UPM Specialty Papers and Henkel will be on display at interpack 2023.

By enhancing the performance of barrier papers to an unsurpassed level of grease resistance, it offers a proven concept for manufacturers.

Reinventing the seal

The plastic coating traditionally required for protection and heat sealing makes the end product difficult to recycle. Inspired by a shared focus on creating sustainable alternatives, UPM Specialty Papers and Henkel have evolved the concept to help brand owners and manufacturers meet growing consumer and regulatory demands for easily recyclable packaging.

"In line with our 2030 sustainability goals, our water-based LOCTITE LIOFOL HS 2809-22 RE, heat seal and AQUENCE EPIX BC 6134 grease barrier coatings are easy to recycle. This helps to recover more fibres and support a circular economy. Together with UPM Specialty Papers, we are one step closer to bridging the gap between sustainable fibre-based packaging and traditional plastic packaging to help brand owners and manufacturers make the switch to paper," says Christin Noack, Market Strategy Manager Paper Solutions at Henkel.

Progress through partnership

The existing barrier papers UPM Asendo and UPM Asendo Pro were the starting point. Their fibres are recyclable and produced from sustainably managed forests. In addition, the papers offer grease repellency and moisture resistance without the need for a plastic coating. The aim of the partnership was to push the boundaries of performance to develop paper packaging that could be heat sealed, protect food and be incorporated into existing fibre recycling loops. This is where Henkel's expertise came into play, optimising its innovative coatings specifically for the UPM papers to reinforce their original barrier properties and provide unmatched grease resistance.

"Barrier and heat-seal coatings behave differently on different paper substrates, so it can be difficult to find the best combination of paper substrate, coating and optimal application," explains Christin Noack. "We have optimised our heat-seal and grease-barrier coatings through a series of tests and a lengthy development process. Together with UPM, we have developed innovative coating products that will enable paper to reach new and unmatched performance levels."

The resulting high-performance packaging concept is ideal for a variety of dry food products that require fat resistance. These include party snacks and breadsticks – both of which will be available as samples at Interpack.

A role model for the future

"This solution shows what we can achieve with jointly developed fibre-based materials. Packaging manufacturers can choose from a 'ready-to-use' combination of paper and coatings that have already been tested and approved. This allows them to quickly find the right solutions for their end use without the need for trial and error. Brand owners now have another alternative aimed at supporting the transition from fossil to renewable materials and packaging," says Mika Uusikartano, Senior Manager, Product Portfolio Management at UPM Specialty Papers.

Visitors can learn more about the packaging concept during Interpack 2023 at the UPM Specialty Papers stand in Hall 8, Stand 29.