Some materials can be infinitely recycled. This, unfortunately, does not apply to paper, which is usually recycled up to a maximum of seven times. However, a recent study, carried out by Graz University of Technology, appeared to alter the prospects for this material, showing that cellulose fibres used in paper and cardboard packaging can be recycled up to 25 times, without compromising quality.
Nevertheless, due to the fact that the recycling process causes a gradual weakening and shortening of the fibres, it is necessary to use a certain proportion of virgin fibres extracted from wood during each cycle. Thus, in the paper industry, virgin raw material remains an irreplaceable element, even in the recycling process.
The importance of balance
Lucart S.p.A. is well aware of the importance of finding a balance between manufacturing paper from pure cellulose raw materials and recycling pulp. The multinational group, founded in Lucca in 1953, is known for its Tenderly, Tutto, and Grazie EcoNatural brands, and has 10 manufacturing plants dispersed throughout Europe, with over 1,700 employees and a production capacity of approximately 396,000 tonnes per year in the paper sector.
Lucart is one of the main manufacturers of tissue, airlaid, and coated papers for flexible packaging. The group has access to unique know-how for the production of eco-friendly paper. In 1997, it paved the way for low environmental impact recycled toilet paper, launching an Ecolabel-certified product that was the first of its kind in Italy and was sold in Mater- Bì corn starch packaging, a bioplastic material that had never previously been used for packaging.
Lucart uses both virgin cellulose and recycled paper to manufacture its products. By 2030, its aim is for 60% of the raw input material it uses to be recycled paper. Its latest sustainability report states that the company is on the right track to achieve its targets: in 2022, the raw materials used comprised 44% virgin cellulose and 56% recycled fibres. “These figures place us among the leading companies in the sector in terms of circularity, in line with our goal,” wrote Massimo Pasquini, the group’s president and CEO, in a letter to stakeholders.