Finnish project blends environmental and business sense

The Package Heroes project, funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, has been exploring different options, from those which pursue source reduction to those which look to re-use for greater materials and carbon efficiency. According to Henri Hakala of the LUT School of Business and Management, the potential of some innovations is being worked on in collaboration with start-up packaging companies.
Discussing the ways in which packaging needs to adapt in the future, Hakala said in a statement: “My personal hope is that, in the future, that change will be reflected in different, more profitable, more transparent recycling of packaging materials, and a better-functioning market for different recycling models.”
At the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ville Leminen put the project in the broader context of university research. “At LUT, we are carrying out packaging research regarding sustainable packaging on a wide scale, from the converting process and material development to business aspects,” he explained.
Challenges include the potential cost of novel materials and formats, and the difficulty in involving smaller businesses in innovation, rather than the use of existing solutions. This is where the benefits of collaboration are especially important, said Hakala.
Researcher Sanne Bor said: “If the chosen packaging material raises the price of the product, it must be clearly communicated to the consumer why they are paying more for sustainable packaging.”
Package Heroes launched at the beginning of 2019 and finishes at the end of 2023.