GERMANY – Paper and packaging company Mondi is investing approximately US$5 million in a new research and development (R&D) facility at Mondi Steinfeld in Germany.

The group hopes the new centre will support customers by helping them to develop solutions that achieve their sustainability goals.

According to the company’s press release, it has already commenced construction works of the facility.

Once completed, it will house pilot lines for both plastic- and paper-based solutions, from coating, film extrusion and printing to filling lines for multiple products.

Scheduled to open at the end of next year, the facility will serve as a location for Mondi to work with customers and build pilot-scale solutions.

Mondi said that the facility will strengthen collaboration and the transfer of knowledge between customers.

It will also complement the company’s existing research and development centers, including its recently opened recycling and food safety laboratory in Frantschach, Austria.

Commenting on the development, Elisabeth Schwaiger, Head of R&D and IP Flexible Packaging at Mondi noted that the facility demonstrates the company’s hands-on approach to develop sustainable packaging solutions.

Mondi R&D and intellectual property (IP) flexible packaging head Elisabeth Schwaiger said:

“We look forward to working with our customers, combining their knowledge with ours to meet their sustainable packaging goals,” added Schwaiger.

“The investment helps to contribute to our own Mondi Action Plan 2030 sustainability goals, specifically our target to make 100% of our products reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”

The firm operates around 100 production sites across more than 30 countries, employing around 26,000 people.

Earlier this month, the company introduced Hug&Hold, a paper-based packaging solution for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle bundle packs.

The company claims Hug&Hold is a recyclable 100% paper-based solution, comprised of a kraft paper sleeve and a corrugated clip.

The company also opened its first in-house recycling laboratory at its mill in Frantschach, Austria.

According to Mondi, the new recycling laboratory will test the recyclability of paper and paper-based packaging components using non-paper components such as coatings.

While paper packaging offers sustainability benefits, Mondi says it has some barrier functionality limits for products such as perishable food.

To enhance functionality, non-paper components such as barrier coatings can be added, which in turn can impact recyclability.

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