Paper produced in Sweden by Mondi fuels the journey from organic waste to biogas

From the first idea of producing a paper that is fit for organic waste to fuelling a vehicle with biogas, Mondi Dynäs mill, Sweden, took a successful road. Together with Svenco, one of Europe’s major manufacturers of paper bags, Mondi launched Advantage MF EcoComp, which is used to produce the so called Matavfallspåse waste paper bag that has since become indispensable for most Swedish households.

But the bag’s journey is not done once it has collected organic kitchen waste. In fact, Advantage MF EcoComp is still picking up speed when it enters the recycling plant. The bag, the paper and its contents go straight to the biogas facility for conversion into a fuel that is supplied by Swedish petrol stations. One full waste bag made of EcoComp can power a car over a distance of up to 4 km [1]. “Biogas is an environmentally friendly vehicle fuel because it is not fossil-based, but extracted from biological material. The use of biogas as a fuel is increasing all the time, and it is therefore important that food waste is collected. Biological treatment enables engineers to take advantage of the parent plants’ nutrients and energy. We can recycle nutrients and manufacture vehicle fuels or produce electricity, both of which are sustainable,” explains Christer Hansson, Managing Director of Svenco.

Advantage MF EcoComp is a brown speciality kraft paper produced at the Mondi Dynäs mill. It has been developed specifically to produce bags used for the simple and neat collection and composting of organic kitchen waste. The paper is made of virgin fibre from Scandinavian pine forests. “It is crucial that virgin fibre is used in the manufacture of the brown speciality kraft paper in order to obtain the strength required for the bag. Thanks to its water-repellent qualities, which prevent leaks while minimising odours and allowing water vapour to pass through the paper wall, Mondi’s speciality kraft paper is the perfect material for our waste bag,” comments Hansson. Another factor that persuaded Svenco to adopt this paper solution was its compatibility with the company’s open-mouth ventilation system. “Our open mouth system facilitates aerobic digestion of the food waste instead of anaerobic degradation, which occurs in closed systems. The open mouth system allows water to evaporate from the waste, which therefore dries out instead of stagnating. Among the benefits are a reduction in unpleasant odours, lower weight, which is good for transportation, and a decrease in the risk of the waste freezing to the bin,” insists Hansson. The use of a paper bag in a ventilated bin mitigates the problems of a messy and smelly environment because the paper has a unique ability to absorb and remove moisture when ventilated. Given that the paper itself is certified as fully biodegradable and compostable, the whole bag and its contents can be composted.

“Together with Svenco we have developed a sustainable product that makes a difference. But the journey of our Advantage MF EcoComp and the waste bag is not over yet. We are continuously refining our product to meet new challenges and market needs. Adjusting the paper to run even more smoothly on vacuum systems, and compatibility with optical sorting will be among the next steps and challenges we will be tackling with our partners. Waste management – especially biodegradability and composting – is sure to remain a hot topic worldwide for generations to come. Mondi takes its responsibility for the environment very seriously and is proud to contribute to Svenco’s game-changing approach to organic waste composting,” remarks Gerhard Pachler, Sales Director Speciality Kraft Paper Mondi Europe & International.

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