New investment in German paper mill Scheufelen will be used to ramp up the production of its grasspaper product.
The Lenningen-based company was resurrected as Scheufelen GmbH in July after securing investment from Berlin-based Green Growth Fund 2/Wermuth Asset Management, Hamburg-based Nordia Invest and Scheufelen Equity Partners. Its predecessor Papierfabrik Scheufelen had filed for insolvency at the end of January.
While all production was stopped temporarily during the insolvency process, this investment enabled the production of grasspaper, which is made from grass fibre and pulp, to continue, albeit under the watch of a reduced staffing of 100, down from the 340 that worked for Papierfabrik Scheufelen.
The company said it has now increased its capital base to scale up production for food packaging.
Scheufelen chief executive Stefan Radlmayr said: “Our grasspaper product line already offers great ecological value to some of the conscientious forward-looking brands out there.
“This new round of investment will help our motivated team to continue on this exciting journey toward producing the most sustainable and, at the same time, cost competitive paper products in the industry.”
Jochen Wermuth, founding partner of the Green Growth Fund 2 (GGF2), added: “We are happy to have led this investment round and start the process of making the global paper and packaging industry far more sustainable.
“The recent increase in funding will be used to scale up proven grasspaper production to significant monthly volumes primarily for food and retail applications.”
A sustainable and cost-effective fresh fibre paper that is said to provide “massive savings” on water, chemical and energy requirements in fibre production when compared to recycled papers, Scheufelen said grasspaper avoids issues with consumer protection standards stemming from mineral oil migration from recycled paper fibres.
Grass fibre also regrows quickly and can therefore compensate for carbon dioxide emissions from its harvesting and production process almost immediately.
The product can be used for applications such as printing products, notepads and books as well as for all corrugated and folding box food packaging applications, Scheufelen said.
Additionally, its bio-based water and fat barriers mean it is capable of replacing food bags, trays, cups, foils, and cards made of plastics.
“Just as people switched from fresh-fibre white paper to recycled paper en masse in the past, we expect people to shift now from plastic and recycled paper bags, trays, packaging foils with their negative health effects to grasspaper, which is cost-competitive with a smaller environmental footprint and less health risks,” said Scheufelen board member Andreas Rohardt.
Scheufelen also still manufactures its premium paper products, including the high white packaging board Phoenolux, but no longer produces standard woodfree graphical papers.