Helsinki-based renewable products company Stora Enso has partnered with Sweden-based FrostPharma and Mälarplast to develop a new hazardous waste container made of tall oil-based polypropylene (PP) and wood fibres sourced from Nordic forests.
The WoodSafe line consists of seven containers in various sizes. They are manufactured in Sweden and are already in use in healthcare facilities like Danderyd’s Hospital in Sweden, where users reported the only noticeable different from a virgin plastic container was the wooden smell. “The results are great, and it’s been well received by the market,” said Peter Wall CEO at Mälarplast, a plastic wholesaler.
The bio-based containers are destined for applications in the medical, veterinary, laboratory, and dental industries. European law requires waste from those activities to be incinerated after use to minimise the risk of anyone coming in contact with the waste. The rules also require the container to be incinerated after use, meaning that millions of plastic containers are burnt in Europe every year with significant amounts of carbon dioxide being release into the atmosphere.
A life cycle assessment performed by an independent party compared the WoodSafe waste container’s environmental impact and compared the biocomposite material to the most common alternatives available in the market. Results showed that using the new container can lower CO2 emissions by up to 66% compared with a virgin plastic container.
“Our mission was to lower the carbon footprint from the healthcare sector and create a sustainable, yet safe, alternative to today’s products,” said Henrik Alfredsson from FrostPharma, a pharmaceutical company in Sweden.