Wood-based biocomposites replacing plastic

Wood fibre-based biocomposite materials can replace fossil-based raw materials in products that have traditionally been made from plastics. The carbon footprint of products is reduced significantly – even up to 80% – depending on the product in question. Their life span also corresponds to that of equivalent high-quality plastic products.

DuraSense by Stora Enso

Stora Enso’s new biocomposite is a high-quality, durable and bio-based raw material for industrial use. DuraSense™ by Stora Enso is made from wood-based fibres and polymers that can be virgin, recycled or bio-based. Replacing fossil raw materials with renewable ones address the issue of resource scarcity. The renewable raw material, i.e. wood fibre, helps consumers make sustainable choices.

How it works in practise

Wood fibres and polymers together form a material where the best features of wood and plastic are combined: the mouldability and light weight of plastic as well as the durability and workability of wood. The spruce and pine used for the raw material come from sustainably managed and certified Nordic forests. The wood used for DuraSense™ by Stora Enso utilises side streams from various pulp and wood products production processes.

Biocomposites are suitable for a wide range of applications from consumer goods to industrial applications, for products that are typically made of virgin plastics. DuraSense™ by Stora Enso can be used, for example, in furniture, pallets, hand tools, automotive interiors, nearly any consumer goods from toys to toothbrushes to beauty and lifestyle products, kitchen utensils, garden equipment, disposable cutlery, bottle caps as well as wood profiles for decking, stable interiors and cladding among other uses.

Products made from biocomposites are often designed for long-term use. Their life span corresponds to that of equivalent high-quality plastic products. Stora Enso’s biocomposites can be reused as a material and recycled with other plastics. They can also be used for energy at their end-of-life stage.

Financial opportunities and broader social impact

According to Stora Enso’s vision, everything that’s made with fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. A concrete step toward this goal is the biocomposite plant that was inaugurated in Hylte, Sweden, in 2018. It is Europe’s largest wood fibre-based production line and its annual capacity is 15 000 tonnes.

Stora Enso’s ambition is to replace fossil-based material with fibres from trees. The properties of plastic are versatile and to keep those properties with today’s technology, the use of polymers or biopolymers is required. But with wood-based biocomposites we can gradually phase out more and more fossil material in a highly sustainable and technically superior way.

Further information