However, plastic materials are fossil and have a high carbon footprint. An ideal compromise has been to use a combination of paperboard and a thin plastic barrier. The paperboard ensures the structural build of the package, and the thin plastic layer supplies the properties that the paperboard can't.

This solution has existed for decades but has become more interesting when so many packaging producers are trying to reduce the use of plastic materials. With the combination of paperboard and plastic barriers, the carbon emissions from the production of a package can be reduced by up to 80 per cent.

Plastic is a fantastic material from a functional perspective. The big drawback is that it is a fossil material with a high contribution to global warming. Plastics are still the best functional barriers we have, but a lot of research is going on to find non-fossil alternatives.

The Holmen Iggesund development department is continuously evaluating new barriers to find the best barriers to combine with our boards for optimal functionality in our customers' processes and packaging solutions.

In the pursuit of non-fossil alternatives to plastic barriers, several promising options have emerged. These include bio-based barriers derived from cellulose, starch, and other renewable materials. These alternatives not only mitigate the environmental impact but also provide comparable functionality to conventional plastic barriers. Furthermore, coating technologies are being advanced to apply these bio-based barriers to paperboard effectively, thereby creating packaging solutions that are both sustainable and practical. The journey towards a greener future in packaging is ongoing, and every step forward counts towards reducing our carbon footprint and preserving the environment.