Global Thermoplastic Elastomers compounding group HEXPOL TPE worked with Wildo Sweden AB on the development of a biobased TPE for their iconic Fold-A-Cup.
“The Scandinavian and Nordic countries have long fostered a culture of sustainability and ‘green’ thinking is not new,” says Klas Dannäs, Global R&D Coordinator at HEXPOL TPE. “What we’re doing with the development of our biobased TPEs is creating new possibilities to achieve these goals. Dryflex Green TPEs make it easier for customers to meet application and material demands, while deploying global resources in a sustainable way.
We also recognise that using renewable resources brings with it a responsibility to ensure that they are managed in an ethical way. In this regard, we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure they operate in a responsible manner with good environmental practices that comply with social and environmental demands. We continue to trial new and emerging raw material combinations and further test the possibilities of Dryflex Green TPE compounds. We’ve found that as the requirements can vary greatly for each application, there is a need for highly customised formulations. For example, working with Wildo Sweden AB, we developed a bespoke Dryflex Green TPE compound for their Fold-A-Cup product. We had several interesting properties to meet, the TPE compound needs to display the correct behaviour during repeated folding and opening of the cup. It should be flexible, yet rigid enough to withstand temperatures from hot or cold drinks. We also needed to consider haptics and of course the raw materials we used had to be compliant with food contact.”
Lena-Marie Johannisson, project manager at Wildo commented “Being an outdoor product producer we always strive to be part of something bigger. With the outdoor as our platform we understand the importance of respecting the environment and surroundings around us. We need to make sure that we can enjoy our planet now and in the future”.
Wildo’s history started more than 35 years ago when the Fold-A-Cup and Camp-A-Box was developed – outdoor utensils that are functional, durable and lightweight, and can be used over and over again. At that time, it was pioneering in contrast to the buy and throw away-thought as well as the heavy options that were around. Making many small steps by keeping the production in Sweden, well selected suppliers and short transports, recycling and re-usage of boxes as well as easy designed packages has been natural choices in their production. It also enables close contact with their suppliers, they understand and can relate to Wildo’s products.
The question of developing a bio material together with HEXPOL TPE was brought up, “It was not hard to leap into this further, knowing that they, as well as us, would never compromise with the quality of the material,” adds Johannisson. “This was what we had been looking for! Working for more sustainable material reducing the fossil recourses is not a luxury we can choose but a necessary way to go. Wildo has now started with a first step to a green choice, but there will be more to come.”