School of Chemical Engineering

Daniela Bqain is helping to replace plastic with new packaging solutions: 'I couldn't imagine anything more interesting than my current profession' 

Chemical engineering alumna Daniela Bqain works on environmental responsibility in packaging at Stora Enso. Her studies in chemical engineering at Aalto University enabled her to pursue her dream job, which aims to reduce the use of plastics.

How did you end up studying chemical engineering?

‘Many of my high school acquaintances applied to either law, medical or business school. I was more interested in science and technology. That's why I decided to apply to TKK, the pre-Aalto University of Technology, after high school. I looked at the different application options and was interested in the versatility of chemical engineering: there is a huge variety of subjects to choose from within the subject.’

What were your studies like?

‘There was a really good team spirit at Otaniemi. It's a kind of a bubble of its own. The best thing about studying was definitely the people. I could easily spend the evening at Otaniemi with my fellow students.’

What kind of work have you done in your career?

‘Most of my career has been working with ecological packaging. Seas have always been important to me, so when I saw Paptic, a start-up company solving the plastic problem in seas, I immediately applied for a job there. Paptic develops flexible packaging to replace plastic. I was responsible for the company's environmental issues, including life cycle assessment of packaging, environmental communication and certifications.

Now I work at Stora Enso, in responsible development of packaging solutions. In particular, my work includes environmental responsibility for the packaging we produce, such as reducing carbon emissions from our factories and ensuring the recyclability of our packaging. In addition, we are constantly developing packaging solutions to replace plastic for our customers. I couldn't imagine anything more interesting than my current job.’

CHEM alumni Daniela Bqain

Chemical engineering is one of the most interesting, fun and useful places to study.

Daniela Bqain, Sustainability Manager, Stora Enso

Why is your job important?

‘In my job, I am involved in making our packaging and operations as environmentally friendly as possible. We need functional and sustainable materials for packaging different products, but at the same time it is important to reduce the use of plastic. However, it is not always easy to find alternatives for food packaging that can withstand oily food, for example. At Stora Enso, we are developing cellulose-based packaging to replace plastic take-away bowls or difficult-to-recycle styrofoam packaging, for example.’
 
What kind of skills has studying chemical engineering given you?

‘The optional courses in chemical engineering allowed me to focus on my own interests. Personally, I took a lot of courses related to the environment, where I learned, for example, how to filter emissions in factories or how to treat water so that chemicals do not end up in water bodies. We also visited water treatment plants, for example, where you could really see how the industry works.’

What greetings would you like to send to young people who are considering their choice of studies?

‘Chemical engineering is one of the most interesting, fun and useful places to study. The studies are so wide-ranging that you can end up working almost anywhere. One of my fellow students works in flue gas cleaning, another in wood construction and a third as a sustainability manager for a large company. There are plenty of opportunities!’

Learn more about our studies:

Chemical engineering solves the biggest problems of our time

School of Chemical Engineering combines natural sciences and engineering to refine research results and put them into practice as sustainable innovations.

4 alumni of School of Chemical Engineering
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