British firm and Swedish forestry giant unveil ‘sustainable’ alternative to plastic

A British paper and technical fibres company and a Swedish forestry giant have unveiled a sustainable alternative to plastic which they claim is strong enough to carry the weight of an adult and can be composted within 100 days.

DuraPulp was developed by James Cropper in partnership with Södra, a Swedish forestry cooperative.

The bio-composite material is made from pulp and a renewable polymer which, after additional processing, becomes moisture resistant, rigid and strong enough to carry the weight of an adult.

James Cropper claims that DuraPulp is the only composite material of its kind that is completely biodegradable and derived from 100% renewable resources.

Södra, which will licence the product, aims to establish its viability in premium markets such as luxury fashion, cosmetics, automotive and interior design.

James Cropper chief technology officer Patrick Willink said: “Sustainability has to be at the heart of manufacturing for the future, both for cost-effective production and the responsible protection of the environment for future generations.

“This is an ethos we know we share with Södra as both companies work hard to provide products that have a low carbon impact, going so far as to each generate our own electricity.

“This partnership is driven not only by the desire to help DuraPulp take on the global burden of non-degradable plastics, which are still widely used, but also to apply our key strengths of an unrivalled colour palette and international marketing expertise to a game-changing product.”

Södra has explored the adaptability of DuraPulp in a series of design-led commissions, including a paper-thin, waterproof chair, moulded packaging to cradle delicate objects in transit and an electric desk lamp.

According to Södra, its biodegradability has been embraced as a feature, being made into a seed pod from which plants will grow after the fibre has perished, proving that DuraPulp exists not only as the fibre of product packaging, but of the product itself.

Liz Gyekye

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie