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Biodegradable bubble wrap replacement Bubbles with Benefits wins innovation competition

The innovation of Aalto University’s design students was awarded by the Finnish Forest Industries and the Finnish Forest Products Engineers' Association.
Selluloosapohjainen, biohajoava kuplamuovin korvaajainnovaatio Bubbles with Benefits. Kuvassa vaalea ohut materiaali ympäröi kahta juomalasia
Kuva: Esa Kapila / Aalto-yliopisto

The winners of the Wood U Innovate -innovation competition are Satu Paavonsalo and Valentin Schwarz from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Similar to bubble wrap in many features, their Bubbles with Benefits innovation is cellulose-based and biodegradable. 

"The increase in plastic litter is a major problem, and when it ends up in waterways, plastic is harmful to aquatic organisms. Our innovation is a completely wood-based material that can replace plastic-based bubble wrap in packaging," say Paavonsalo and Schwarz. 

The Wood U Innovate -competition inspired higher education students to consider what wood can be used for and whether wood could be used to solve the challenges posed by global megatrends. 

The jury selected the winner from four interesting finalists. "The winning innovation meets the characteristics sought in the competition and has a wow effect," says jury member Antti Lindqvist

The jury awarded the winning innovation a prize of 8000 euros. The finalists of the competition were selected and awarded in connection with the spring seminar of Finnish Forest Products Engineers' Association in April 2023. 

Satu Paavonsalo is a Bachelor's student in Design and Valentin Schwarz is majoring in Fashion, Clothing and Textiles, both at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The idea and first experiments of the Bubbles with Benefits solution were born in summer 2022 during the Nordic Biomaterials with CHEMARTS course at Aalto Summer School and it has been further refined in the Aalto Digital Creatives preincubation programme. "We will use the prize pool of the competition to develop our innovation and, for example, to implement our website," the winners say.

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Aalto Digital Creatives on luoville aloille suunnattu esihautomo-ohjelma, joka kuuluu Helsingin kaupungin Kampusinkubaattorit-ohjelmaan.

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