It’s pretty simple really, moulded pulp is a clean, wood-based or bagasse sugarcane, renewable and biodegradable raw material usually made from recycled waste-based paper/carboards or Virgin Fibre which we’ll touch on later. Whilst relatively new compared to some of the more traditional paper packaging materials, pulp’s popularity and reputation as the go-to sustainable packaging option for large, bespoke, heavy, small and fragile products is fast growing. The design possibilities are endless; from end caps, trays, plates, bowls to clamshell containers and much more.
Moulded Pulp is a recycled packaging material designed to be recycled once again. It is very likely that the pulp fibre material you may have come across would have served many purposes in its life. Due to the nature of pulp, all its products can be recycled in any household or public recycling centre. And if it does find itself in nature, it will completely decompose within 4-6 weeks.
Recycled pulp can take multiple forms to replace polystyrene and plastic. Pulp Environmentally Recycled Impact Corners and Cartons (ERIC) are completely environmentally friendly and can even outperform foams and plastics whilst still remaining very versatile, flexible and customisable.
Our team will work to create designs either from our standard range or more of a bespoke and custom sustainable packaging design, ensuring your product is protected, looks great and delights your customer.
Unlike recycled pulp, Virgin Fibre Pulp can be used in the medical, cosmetic and food industries. The use of virgin material from sustainable sources can be used in these industries without the risk of contamination if there is direct contact.
Specifically, sugarcane pulp is made from a sugarcane bi-product, otherwise known as bagasse. For this bi-product, the crop is harvested, the juices extracted for its intended purpose, and what is left over is bagasse which is then made into a very sustainable material. This material is very durable and firm due to the fibrous texture and is hence used by several leading online grocery shopping centers in the UK. Sugarcane pulp is also refrigerator and microwave safe and makes it the ideal sustainable material for the food and beverage, medical, cosmetic industries and more.
When thinking of pulp, think back to those days back in school when you would papier-mache around different products….well, the process of making pulp is very similar, but of course a little more sophisticated!
The way in which pulp can be moulded is the exciting part. The moulding process unlocks its potential to be used for intricate, durable and completely bespoke designs. In the process of making pulp, the recycled paper is heated, pressed and then shaped using a pre-made mould which lasts a lifetime. This means that no man-made materials are found within pulp.
So how does our work with pulp begin?
Let’s start from the beginning. Our pulp process usually starts with an initial design consultation to understand your product, company and client requirements. With our level of experience, our expert technical and design team then work to create robust designs to overcome any breakage issues and create packaging which makes a great first impression and user-experience. We like to show you these designs using our in-house 3D CAD software so you can easily visualise your designs.
The next steps are the samples and stress tests. Once you’re happy with the design, our team then create samples and carry out rigorous stress tests – ensuring the packaging provides the utmost protection.
When the design and performance are approved, your packaging is then manufactured to your chosen quantities with quality checks carried out.
Ultimately, pulp can virtually replace any forms of plastic, polystyrene and foams. Many may have seen pulp in the form of drink trays as we order our favourite fast food. However, pulp can be moulded around virtually anything - take a look at our gallery below! Pulp can be used to protect products in transit such as jars, technology equipment and doors, as well as food service trays and beverage carriers. Other typical uses are end caps, trays, plates, bowls and clamshell containers. And as mentioned above, Virgin Fibre Pulp is ideal for the medical, cosmetic and food industries to reduce the risk of contamination.
The possibilities of pulp packaging are virtually endless - from small intricate products which require a higher degree of internal, protective packaging, through to doors and kitchen units which require protection on their edges. So where polystyrene and plastics are currently used to shape around objects and act as inserts, pulp is the sustainable alternative to this.
Take a look at our sectors page to see how we can use pulp across a range of different applications. Below are some examples of how pulp is a big part of our everyday life.
Ideal for retail packaging containers. We have created several clamshell designs that are now being used through major online retail suppliers.
Can provide shock and vibration resistance. We've supplied furniture manufacturers with corners and channels to protect their products in transit.
Designed specifically to house products/components that need to be held secure, for example your new computer.
If you would like to know more about our pulp process, or whether pulp will work for your products, please drop us an email or fill out the form below, we would love to hear from you.
Our design expertise means that we can create pulp packaging for virtually any products. At Switch, we know that pulp is here to stay, it isn’t a fad or trend. It is the key to unlocking a more sustainable, renewable and also efficient packaging industry. We are proud to say that most of our enquiries come from repeat business or past client referrals.
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