Story | 04/12/2023 12:59:43 | 3 min Read time

Henkel x UPM Specialty Papers: a sustainable heat-sealable packaging concept

See the results of the recent co-creation project between UPM Specialty Papers and Henkel

How co-creation powers your purpose

  • A heat sealable, paper-based barrier packaging concept.
  • Food safe, recyclable material.
  • New and unmatched barrier performance.
  • Helps to meet consumer and regulatory demands for sustainable packaging.

Henkel x UPM Specialty Papers: a sustainable heat-sealable packaging concept

Packaging trends are quickly moving to more sustainable products. Yet conventional heat-sealed packaging is often laminated with plastic or a multi-structure solution, which makes it more difficult to recycle.

Inspired by a shared focus on creating sustainable alternatives, Henkel - a worldwide leader in industrial and consumer businesses, and UPM Specialty Papers combined their expertise in coatings and barrier papers to reinvent the concept.

This long-standing relationship has now resulted in a recyclable, heat sealable packaging material compatible with existing packaging lines. Pushing the performance of barrier papers to an unsurpassed level of grease resistance, it offers a tried and tested concept for converters.

Progress through partnership

Existing UPM Asendo™ and UPM Asendo™ Pro barrier papers provided the starting point. These recyclable barrier papers are produced with fibres from sustainably managed forests, and offer grease and moisture resistance without the need for a plastic coating. They were paired with two Henkel barrier coatings, LOCTITE LIOFOL and AQUENCE EPIX.

“In line with our 2030 sustainability ambitions, our water based LOCTITE LIOFOL HS 2809-22 RE heat seal and AQUENCE EPIX BC 6134 grease barrier coatings are easy to recycle, helping to recover more fibres and supporting a more circular economy
,” says Christin Noack, Market Strategy Manager Paper Solutions at Henkel.


The two partners then set out to push the limits of performance to create food-safe, heat-sealed, paper-based packaging that can be recycled in existing fibre recycling streams. This is where Henkel’s expertise came into play with the optimisation of its pioneering heat seal and barrier coatings specifically for the UPM barrier papers.  

“Grease barrier and heat seal coatings behave differently on different paper substrates, so finding the best combination of paper substrate, coating, and optimum application can be tricky,” Christin explained.

Henkel fine-tuned its coatings over a number of trials and a lengthy development process, enabling the UPM Specialty Paper products to reach new and unmatched grease barrier performance levels. The resulting high performance packaging concept is ideal for a wide range of dry foods that require grease resistance, such as party snacks and bread sticks.

As such, it represents a significant step forward in bridging the gap between sustainable fibre-based packaging and traditional plastic packaging.

A template for the future

Supporting brand owners and converters in the transition to paper, the breakthrough can play a role in helping them to meet ever growing consumer and regulatory demands for easy to recycle packaging.


“This solution demonstrates what we can achieve with co-created fibre-based materials. Packaging converters can select from a ready tested and approved ‘off-the shelf’ combination of paper and coatings, quickly finding the right solutions for their end-use without the need for trial and error. For brand owners, it represents yet another co-created product aimed at supporting the transition from fossil-based materials to renewable, recyclable packaging,” says Mika Uusikartano, Senior Manager, Product Portfolio Management at UPM Specialty Papers.