Environmental benefits

Environmental benefits of wax paper

Wax paper has a number of environmental benefits to offer which make it an attractive and future proof, eco-friendly packaging solution.

Wax paper can be a compostable and biodegradable packaging material*

Wax paper is an organic and inherently biodegradable packaging material 1). Both paper and wax decompose at the same rate as leaves in a forest2).

A recent study commissioned by EuroWaxPack shows that a wide range of wax paper packaging materials (covering the majority of wax paper applications) are industrially-compostable. The material fulfils the 90% relative biodegradability requirement of EN 13432 (2000)3)

The French converter organisation Micropap® received, in 2012, OK Compost certification from Vinçotte4) for paper-based meat and cheese wrappers coated with either vegetable wax or mineral wax.

Wax paper can be recyclable*

Paper has the highest recycling rate of all packaging materials after glass, with recovered paper and board representing up to 70.4% 5) of paper industry raw material.
Industrial wax paper waste can be used as a raw material for corrugated board; and as wax paper has a high calorific value when incinerated, energy recovery is also a viable option6).

Wax paper from renewable resources

The main raw material for wax paper is wood — an endlessly-renewable resource! It is harvested from responsibly managed forests7).

Brand owners increasingly choose for vegetable wax paper packaging. Vegetable waxes used for paper packaging are mainly based on hardened fats which are derived from vegetable oils. Only vegetable oil producers who supply under a sustainable production policy are selected as suppliers for wax coatings used on paper.

High Performance

Excellent machinability coupled with extremely high efficiency on the packaging line make wax paper packaging a cost-effective solution as well as a sustainable one.

  1. Drs A.O. Hanstveit, TNO, The Netherlands, ‘Inherent biodegradability of waxes’, commissioned by European Wax Federation, Brussels, 1991
  2. Drs A.O. Hanstveit, TNO, The Netherlands, ‘Fate of wax paper materials in a woodland litter layer’, commissioned by European Wax Federation, Brussels, 1991
  3. B. De Wilde, OWS Organic Waste Systems, Belgium,‘Compostability testing program on wax coated paper’, commissioned by EuroWaxPack, The Hague,The Netherlands, 2012
  4. AIB Vinçotte, ‘Certificat d’octroi et d’usage de la marque de conformité ‘OK Compost’ Nº O 12-789-A and 12-790-A’, Brussels, Belgium, 2012
  5. Monitoring Report 2011, European Recovered Paper Council, October 2012
  6. A. Dumoitier, ‘Valorisation – Recycling of sweets and chocolate packaging’, Sweetpack symposium, Sibille-Dalle, Nice, France, May 1996
  7. The paper industry produces 20% of Europe’s renewable energy. Over 91% of the fibre needed for the European paper and board industry is grown in Europe. On an annual basis the European forests are continuously growing ( PaperImpact, the speciality paper manufacturers’ association AISBL).

* There are many different wax paper specifications suitable for use across a wide range of applications. To ascertain whether the statements on biodegradability, compostability and recyclability are applicable for you, please contact EuroWaxPack (www.eurowaxpack.org).