Fiber is Huhtamaki’s top material – and it's renewable

Fiber accounts for more than 65% of Huhtamaki’s raw material usage measured by volume. Approximately half of the total amount is sourced as fresh paperboard for food packaging and the other half is comprised of recycled fibers, derived either from postindustrial or post-consumer paper products. When sourcing virgin fiber, it is important to be able to trace the original source in order to ensure the legality and sustainable management of forests.

The origin of fiber is wood, a constantly growing renewable natural resource. Huhtamaki works closely with its suppliers to understand the source of fiber.

“We use cupstock, a special paperboard, for products that are in direct contact with food, such as drink cups, plates, food containers and ice cream packaging. This virgin material complies fully with food safety laws and regulations, performs well in the manufacturing process and fulfills the enduser criteria for appearance and functionality,” says Koen Benoit, Vice President Sourcing, Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania.

“Virgin fibers are traceable and there are third-party certifications to verify their origin. We use the highest standards available within the certifications. By purchasing certified material we know that for the amount of wood cut to produce paperboard, an equal number or more trees are planted and will grow. Fostering biodiversity is another aspect of sustainable forestry built within the certification criteria,” Koen Benoit says.

“The certifications are a commonly known and accepted way to confirm to us, and again to our customers that the fiber comes from well managed sources, and ultimately that the forests will continue to grow and regenerate,” he concludes.

Recycled, post-industrial fibers are mainly the residual clippings from Huhtamaki’s paper cup or folding carton production, which are then reused in the molded fiber process to manufacture new products such as Chinet® plates.

Post-consumer fiber, derived mainly from recycled newspapers, is used to produce egg cartons, fruit trays and cup carriers.

Third party certification schemes in fiber sourcing

The origin of fibers can be traced with different external certifications; PEFC™, the Programme for the Endorsement of
Forest Certification, and FSC®, Forest Stewardship being the most relevant for Huhtamaki. Both organizations work
globally and aim to promote good practices for sustainable forest management by offering independent third party
certification. In the U.S. the most widely known programme is SFI, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.