Company in Lombardy, Italy, makes paper products only from waste paper

As part of its strategy to remain a competitive industrial and manufacturing region, Lombardy has been investing in research and innovation. With help from the EU the region supported the EU-funded Total EcoPapers project, which designed and produced new materials made entirely out of waste paper. These materials, and the research behind them, are then made available to other companies, which use them in the design and manufacturing of new products for food packaging and printing. The result is a sustainable value chain driven by innovation.

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" The most important result is the ecological aspect that has continuously permeated the development of this project. The new production methods have significantly reduced the use of necessary energy and the polluting emissions. Raising the waste paper from a role of supporting actor to a role of a key player in the production of valuable paper is an event that can become very significant in the specific sector. "

Graziano Nobili, representative of CHEMIBA SRL (beneficiary)

To illustrate this value chain, take a novel card stock developed by Total EcoPapers. Being made only from paper, the stock is biodegradable. It has since been used by other companies in the production of wet strength sacks and garbage bags. These bags are sold and used as a biodegradable product and thus a sustainable alternative to plastic trash bags.

In addition to the tangible products that have come from the project, Total EcoPapers is also responsible for a number of ecological successes. For instance, the production process it invented uses significantly less energy than traditional processes, helping to reduce CO2 emissions. 

Waste paper as a key ingredient

Perhaps the project’s biggest achievement is its positioning of waste paper as a key recyclable input in the region’s pulp and paper sector. This importance was validated when the European Union adopted new rules to increase the use of biodegradable packaging. 

As a result of waste paper’s new market position, the project’s EcoPapers product is attracting substantial commercial interest.    

Total EcoPapers is a consortium led by Italian SME Chemiba and includes companies such as Cartiera Mantovana, Cartiera Fornaci and Burgo Group. The research institution Stazione Sperimentale Carta Cartoni e Paste per Carta also participated. 

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Total EcoPapers” is EUR 1 355 859, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 537 462 through the “Regional Research and Innovation” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “New Materials”.


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