Sappi Valida brings natural cellulose advantages to responsible, eco-friendly hand sanitiser formulation

As the world emerges from various states of COVID-19 lockdown and the ‘new normal’ still presents many unknowns, one thing we know for sure is that it is imperative to adhere to stringent hygienic measures. We at Sappi are very cognisant of the impact that the daily use of hygiene products can have on our skin and the environment. With the significant increase in consumption of hand sanitisers, we are excited to introduce Sappi’s Valida natural cellulose product for the formulation of more skin- and planet-friendly solutions.

Matt Spence, Vice-President Biomaterials at Sappi Biotech explains: “Valida is a highly fibrillated cellulose manufactured by Sappi. Derived from woodfibre, it is a 100% natural, biodegradable and sustainable material. Valida can successfully perform as an opacifier and thickener in sanitising gels, providing a natural alternative for acrylate-based polymers while providing some unique additional benefits, including:

  • replacing microplastics with a natural ingredient
  • sustainable and biodegradable
  • moisturising the skin
  • imparting a superior skin feel
  • unique texture
  • having passed cosmetics ingredient safety studies covering:

- skin irritation
- skin sensitisation
- skin blockage, and
- skin penetration.

What can Valida bring to the hand sanitiser?
Traditionally hand sanitisers are clear and transparent gels which contain at least 60% alcohol. Achieving the desired viscosity of sanitising gel can be challenging, and there are only a few thickeners (eg acrylates) that are suitable. The manufacturing process is designed to minimise energy use and avoids the use of harmful process chemicals, thus respecting our environment.

Valida is produced by mechanically processing wood-derived fibres to their smallest components, resulting in a dramatically increased surface area and enhanced mechanical, optical, chemical and physical properties. When suspended in water, Valida cellulose fibrils form an insoluble 3D network based on hydrogen bonding and mechanical entanglement. This network is the foundation of Valida’s excellent rheology and stabilising functionality.

A video explaining the benefits of Sappi Valida is available on the Sappi YouTube channel:

Questions or interested in a sample?
Do you have a question about Valida in hand sanitiser, or do you want to test how Valida works in your formulation? You can contact us via the following email:


For further information:

Matt Spence
Vice-President Biomaterials
Sappi Biotech
Tel +27 (0)11 407 8450
Mobile +27 (0)83 666 6891

Louis Kruyshaar
Executive Vice President
Sappi Biotech
Tel +27 (0)11 407 8236
Mobile +27 (0)82 876 7630

About Sappi Limited:
A global leader in dissolving pulp and paper-based solutions, Sappi Limited (listed and in the Top 40 on the JSE - SAP), is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa; has over 12,000 employees; manufacturing facilities on three continents, in seven countries (eight operations in Europe, four operations in North America and five operations in South Africa) and customers in over 150 countries worldwide

Sappi works closely with customers to provide relevant and sustainable dissolving pulp, paper (packaging, speciality and graphic), paper pulp, and biomaterial products and related services and innovations. Our market-leading range of paper products includes flexible packaging, label, release liner, containerboard, coated fine papers, casting release papers and in our Southern African region newsprint, uncoated graphic and business papers. These products serve the fashion, FMCG and industrial sectors. Our dissolving pulp products are used worldwide by converters to produce viscose fibre, pharmaceutical products as well as a wide range of household and consumer products.

Sappi drives product innovation and the development of new uses for its renewable resource (woodfibre) as well as for the biomass and other residues from its production processes. One such area is in the field of biomaterials (cellulose composites, nanocellulose and lignins), biochemicals including hemicellulose sugars and bio-energy forest products materials which Sappi believes will play a key role in its future range of products, both as commercial products and for applications within Sappi.

We continue to grow into a profitable and cash-generative diversified business with an exciting future in woodfibre, a renewable resource.