Piloting Alternatives for Plastics

Project: EU project

Project Details


Materials based on natural fibres are an interesting alternative to replace fossil-derived plastics. In the future, they may replace plastics in, for example, packaging, hygiene products, building materials and textiles. The Piloting Alternatives for Plastics project brings together a wide range of Finnish and international companies to take materials developed in laboratories towards more industrial production. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, VTT and companies. 
Plastic is an excellent material with many unique properties in, for example, packaging applications. Plastic consumption is estimated to double over the next 20 years. The biggest challenge for plastic products is their recyclability. For example, only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled, so the majority of plastic ends up being incinerated or in landfills and, unfortunately, also improperly disposed of in forests and oceans (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). In a three-year piloting project, VTT is working with companies to take the manufacture of new generation fibre products towards the scale of industrial production. The pilots are being carried out at VTT in Jyväskylä, with access to, among other things, the first research environment in the world to utilise the foam-forming process. The selected piloting targets include fibre-based materials to replace the plastics used in, for example, food packaging, filters, textiles as well as wiping, hygiene and construction materials. 

From laboratory through piloting to the product development phase 
In the research of new materials, the challenge is to select the most interesting from a wide range of raw material and manufacturing options, and to reduce the time it takes to scale the results obtained on a laboratory scale to commercial production scale. The development work done in the project will result in expertise in various raw materials, equipment and manufacturing technologies. Based on the development work, companies can move to the product development phase for different solutions in company-driven projects. The Piloting Alternatives for Plastics project started on 1 April 2020 and ends on 31 March 2023. Its total budget is EUR 6.7 million. The project is implemented with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), VTT and companies coordinated by the Regional Council of Central Finland. Participants in the project include 56 companies from Finland and elsewhere in Europe. A total of 28 companies from Finland are involved, of which 18 are small and medium-sized companies. 

Corporate project partners:
Ahlstrom-Munksjö Glassfibre Oy, Andritz Küsters GmbH, Anpap Ltd, Berndorf Band GmbH, Betolar Ltd, BillerudKorsnäs AB, CH-Polymers Oy, CP Kelco Oy, DAIO Paper Corporation, Domtar Paper CO LLC, DS Smith Paper Limited (GBCE), Ecolab Inc., Elomatic Consulting & Engineering Ltd, Epira Oy, Essity Hygiene & Health AB, Evergreen Packaging LLC, Fiber-X Finland Oy, Fortum Oyj, Huhtamäki Oyj, Ibema Cia Brasileira de Papel, Kemira Oyj, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Klabin S/A, Kuraray Europe GmbH, Lenzing AG, MegaTrex Oy, Metsäliitto Cooperative, Moorim P&P Co. Ltd, Neenah Gessner GmbH, OrganoClick AB, Pankaboard Oyj, Paptic Ltd, Pixact Ltd, ProSolve Oy, P.T. Bukit Muria Jaya (BMJ), PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper – APRIL Group, Sappi Netherlands Services BV, Serres Oy, Solenis LLC, Sonoco-Alcore Oy, Stora Enso Oyj, Sulzer Pumps Finland Oy, Suominen Corporation, Suzano Papel e Celulose S.A., Södra Skogsägarna, Termex-Eriste Oy, TetraPak Packaging Solutions AB, Trinseo Europe GmbH, UPM-Kymmene Corporation, Valmet Technologies, Inc., Visuvari Oy, Weidmann Electrical Technology AG, Westrock Inc. and Wetend Technologies Ltd.
Short titlePAfP
AcronymPAfP (ERDF)
Effective start/end date1/04/2031/08/23

Collaborative partners

  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (lead)
  • Essity
  • Andritz Küsters GmbH
  • Berndorf Band GmbH
  • Lenzing AG
  • Ibema Cia Brasileira de Papel
  • Klabin
  • Suzano Group
  • Domtar (Canada)
  • Ahlstrom-Munksjö Glassfibre Oy
  • Anpap Oy
  • Betolar Oy
  • CH-Polymers Oy
  • CP Kelco Oy
  • Ecolab Inc.
  • Elomatic Consulting & Engineering Oy
  • Epira Oy
  • Fiber-X Finland Oy
  • Fortum Waste Solutions Oy
  • Huhtamäki Oyj
  • Kemira Oyj
  • MegaTrex Oy
  • Metsä Group
  • Pankaboard Oyj
  • Paptic Oy
  • Pixact Oy
  • ProSolve Oy
  • Serres Oy
  • Sonoco-Alcore Oy
  • Stora Enso Oyj
  • Sulzer Pumps Finland Oy
  • Suominen Oyj
  • Termex-Eriste Oy
  • UPM-Kymmene Oyj
  • Valmet Oyj
  • Visuvari Oy
  • Wetend Technologies Oy
  • APRIL Group - PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper
  • P.T. Bukit Muria Jaya - BMJ
  • DAIO Paper Corporation
  • Kuraray Europe GmbH
  • Sappi Netherlands Services BV
  • Moorim P&P CO. Ltd
  • BillerudKorsnäs AB
  • Essity Hygiene & Health AB
  • OrganoClick AB
  • Södra Skogsägarna
  • Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB
  • Trinseo Europe GmbH
  • Weidmann Electrical Technology AG
  • DS Smith Paper Limited (GBCE)
  • Evergreen Packaging LLC
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • Neenah Gessner GmbH
  • Solenis LLC
  • WestRock (United States)


  • European Union - European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • European Union - Leverage from the EU

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Funding category



  • sustainability
  • foam forming
  • plastics
  • materials
  • natural fibres