Huhtamaki has opened a new foodservice packaging manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland that is initially focused on creating paper straws.
Located in the town on Antrim, the plant – which is expected to employ around 100 people over the next few years – marks Huhtamaki’s third site in Northern Ireland.
Finland-headquartered Huhtamaki said its paper straws are made with purpose-built machinery “to deliver a premium product”. All paper used for the straws and wrapping come from sustainably managed forests.
Going forward, Huhtamaki plans to expand the range of products manufactured at the site to other paper-based categories. Further investments in additional manufacturing equipment are planned for 2020-2022.
“At Huhtamaki we are continuously looking for ways to improve the environmental performance of our products and to introduce new, more sustainable packaging innovations,” said Ciaran Doherty, general manager for Huhtamaki foodservice in Northern Ireland.
“The launch of our paper straws is a good example of this. We are extremely proud to support our customers in their strategy to have a more sustainable and environmentally responsible supply chain by opening this new site.”
In February, Huhtamaki released a new line of paper straws, which it says have been tested and certified for food safety in Europe, China and the US.
The company now aims to expand paper straw manufacturing to further units in Europe during 2019.
The news comes as the UK government announced this week it plans to ban the sale and use of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds with plastic stems in England from April 2020.
In England, it is estimated that around 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used every year.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020