Ferrero, which purchases a quarter of the world’s hazelnut supply and produces 180 million kg of Nutella chocolate spread per annum, is collaborating with Stora Enso, and PTS, a German research institute, to develop a new material called EcoPaper which is based on waste hazelnut shells.
Miguel Sanchez, mill manager at Stora Enso, describes that the research involves working on the ideal mixture of nutshell fibres in the pulp, saying: “We are still experimenting on the ideal mixture of nutshell fibres in the pulp, but so far it works well for stiffness and bulk. The hazelnut fibres are used in the board’s middle layer and have been tested for allergy aspects without any problems”.
Aiming at the creation of a more economical and ecologically friendly packaging solution for confectionery goods, the project sees hazelnut shells pre-treated by a dry-milling or a CTMP/TMP process and then added to the middle layer of a multilayer folding box board, which would act as a partial replacement for virgin cellulosic fibres.
The $1.3 million project is being part funded by the European Union and is due to be completed by autumn 2015.
Source: The Guardian / PTS