According to a press release from Iggesund Paperboard, part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, a number of global companies have replaced, or are doing trials to replace, the material in their gift cards - from plastic to paperboard. Sweden's largest cinema chain, SF Bio, has taken the plunge and is now replacing all its cards.
"When our card supplier, Megacard, suggested we could make our gift cards from paperboard and thereby drastically reduce their environmental impact, it was self-evident to us to switch," explained Anna Marcusson, product manager for gift cards at SF Bio."When we could have just as impactful cards in paperboard as in plastic we didn't hesitate to switch - for the environment's sake."
"In plain language, it means we're phasing out the use of 10 tonnes of PVC a year by phasing out the plastic and replacing it with cards made of Invercote from Iggesund Paperboard," she continued.
Replacing plastic with a non-fossil material is a clear trend, not least in the packaging industry. Switching from fossil plastic to an alternative material such as paperboard reduces companies' climate impact. Changing an established infrastructure takes time, though, especially if it means that the packaging must be redesigned, the packing equipment modified or replaced, and the distribution from manufacturer to consumer is affected. The UK food company Iceland has attracted widespread attention with its pledges to eliminate plastic in its packaging within five years. Many people with packaging experience say five years is a fairly short time given the challenges faced by Iceland.
In light of these factors, the switchovers by IKEA and SF Bio have occurred very quickly, and there is reason to believe that many more companies will follow their example.
According to Johan Granås, Head of Sustainability at Iggesund Paperboard, who was closely involved in developing the solution chosen by IKEA, "Because the cards' format is identical, it's easy to make the switch. Apart from the actual production process for making the cards, very few other components of companies' existing equipment need to be modified. So this is a very simple step to take compared with redesigning a plastic packaging solution, where complex and fully automated packing lines must be modified."