NOKIA, Finland—Could birch bark be the next talking point among those searching for sustainable alternatives for rubber?
That's the core of work being carried out by Sweden's Reselo A.B., a company whose mission is to enable sustainable living by replacing fossil-derived materials with renewable alternatives.
The inaugural event was held recently at Nokian's test center, White Hell, in Lapland in northern Finland. The winning entry, chosen from among 50 applications from 18 countries, involved making renewable rubber from birch bark residue.
Reselo's renewable rubber utilizes birch bark sourced from the residue from the global pulp, paper and plywood industry. According to Reselo, a single mill creates 100,000 tons of birch bark residue annually each year. The company said the forestry industry in Finland and Sweden alone produce enough raw material for 200,000 tons of Reselo's rubber.
Reselo's biorefinery concept is designed to minimize the environmental impact of the material.
Teemu Soini, head of Innovation & Development of Nokian Tyres, said judges were "really impressed with the capabilities and versatility of the material. It was also important for us that the material was produced from the side stream of other industries."