Worldwide environmental issues have created a market demand for renewable and recyclable packaging products. Retailers such as Walmart., Target, Lowes, and many product manufacturers including Hewlett Packard, Dell and Proctor & Gamble, now use buying criteria which address packaging sustainability issues such as, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) , Green House Gas (GHG) and energy consumption. As a result, many companies and their markets are turning to the use of renewable molded fiber (pulp) packaging products. For almost 100 years , molded fiber (pulp) packaging made of recycled newspaper(ONP) and old corrugated box material (OCC), was used primarily to produce protective packaging for plant pots, furniture etc., as well as the familiar egg cartons.
Molded fiber packaging products are vacuum formed on screened molds using primarily fiber and water. The process is non-polluting and produces no waste in manufacturing.
Today, hundreds of products are being packaged, worldwide, using molded recycled and virgin fiber materials. In addition to providing product protection during shipment, they are used to improve packaging operations and reduce warehouse storage space. Food service items such as bowls, plates, trays and clam-shell style containers manufactured with molded fiber also, are increasingly being used.
Many kinds of electronic, household appliances and business machines are now packaged with renewable molded fiber, instead of plastic packaging materials. Television sets, computers, cell phones, printers, and DVD equipment are shipped throughout the world using protective molded fiber packaging.
The strong demand for molded fiber packaging has spurred advancements in the technology and manufacturing of molded fiber products. New types of molding machinery has been developed with significantly improved production efficiency and product quality. New manufacturing processes have resulted in improved molded fiber product performance and capabilities, along with cost reductions. In addition to these molded fiber product and equipment engineering developments, new fibers have been introduced into molded fiber (pulp) manufacturing industry. Because of the strong concerns for “sustainability”, packaging products produced using sugarcane, palm, reed and bamboo fibers are now coming into the market, with other natural high yield fibers on the horizon.
With new uses for the “Old” molded fiber (pulp) material being implemented regularly, throughout the world the future of molded fiber (pulp) packaging is bright, with many opportunities for sustainable packaging efforts.