On day three of the conference “Plastics and paper in contact with foodstuffs,” the paper track covered food safety issues in the paper and board supply chain and during recycling. The conference took place on December 5-7, 2017, in Berlin, Germany, and was hosted by consultancy Smithers Pira.

In the morning session, Kristiina Veitola, senior manager sustainability, and Minna Kiviranta, product safety manager, presented how Stora Enso Oyi creates value by managing food safety across the whole supply chain. Information exchange between raw material suppliers, paper and board manufacturers, converters, and fillers was identified as highly necessary to understand the technical requirements of the packaging material and comply with legislations. A sound knowledge of all legal frameworks upstream and downstream is the basis for successful communication in the supply chain, the two speakers concluded. A broad range of products could help companies to comply with different national regulatory systems, Veitola and Kiviranta added. Novel fiber-based packaging trends, e.g. biocomposites and microfibrillated cellulose, were illustrated and challenges for compliance work were pointed out.

Katja Tuomola, product safety manager at Metsä Board, explained how food contact safety for packaging of delicate food stuff is ensured. First of all, the end-use-specific demands for a packaging need to be known, and only then compliance can be confirmed, Tuomola stated. However, the presence of more than 70 national legislative systems makes this work highly demanding. Thus, a harmonized legislation for paper and paperboard would facilitate compliance work, Tuomola envisioned.

Sabine Vogt, expert product stewardship at BASF, introduced a new industry initiative between paper industries and chemical suppliers on a harmonized questionnaire and information transfer. The initiative has started in the beginning of 2016 and is chaired by BASF; the planned project start is January 2018. The questionnaire covers e.g. the regulatory status of a chemical and its food contact compliance and asks whether a chemical is on the paper industry declarable substance list (PIDSL). Furthermore, it allows standardized answers, including comments, and provides links to detailed explanatory notes. The IT tool for information transfer will be hosted at Decernis and will only be fully accessible for consortium members.

In the afternoon, Monica Toenissen, head of product safety and regulatory affairs at Henkel, presented criteria allowing the separation of adhesives from recycled paper and board pulps. Toenissen explained that especially water-soluble adhesives are difficult to remove and remain in the pulp and process water. Adhesives contribute to the formation of stickies which are tacky substances contained in the paper pulp that can disrupt recycling processes. Water-insoluble, mechanically stable adhesives can be separated at an early stage during recycling, Toenissen described. Currently, adhesives are assessed by the INGEDE method 12 by testing their fragmentation behavior and screenability. Additionally, Toenissen introduced an initiative by the German Adhesives Association (IVK) aiming at the identification of physical parameters of hot-melt adhesives (e.g. minimum film-thickness, softening point) that correlate with their screenability during recycling.

Read more

Smithers Pira (2017). “Plastics & paper in contact with foodstuffs.