Stand out, sustainably: Increase the ease of recycling in product packaging

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As we all know, packaging has many important roles. It has to stand out and inspire love for your brand – in colour, quality, design and style. But it also has to perform in the real world. It has to protect products from damage or disarray, provide information, and enable easy transport. All these demands often lead to complex packaging designs made up of a mixture of materials. The problem? The more materials used in a piece of product packaging, the less likely it is to be recycled. Consumers are left confused about how to disassemble and recycle the various components, and recycling facilities find them hard to process. The result? Tonnes of packaging waste in landfill every year. Right now, the world is waking up to this problem. Environmental organisations, consumers and influencers are challenging global brands to design for easier recyclability, as well as sustainable materials.

We’ve always known that sustainable packaging has to ‘do it all’. Brands can’t compromise on their packaging – in terms of experience or performance. So sustainable innovations must allow design creativity to thrive – while also reducing environmental impact, and increasing the ease of consumer recycling. The recently announced New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize marks this new era of sustainable packaging design – and it’s great to see.

Ease of recycling is a key part of our mission at James Cropper 3D Products. We’re helping global brands make their packaging easier to recycle, without compromising on brand impact, style or technical performance. This is papermaking, but not as you know it – renewable fibres, perfect colour, design-engineered structural performance.

JC3DP Business Director, Matthew Miller, explains some key features and benefits of our ‘moulded paper’ packaging product - which are proving to be game-changers for brands who want their packaging to stand out, sustainably.


“There’s a growing demand for brands to create packaging that is easy to recycle. The challenge for packaging innovators like us, is to help them do this without losing the excitement and quality of experience that great packaging provides. Our moulded paper rises to the challenge - offering new creative and technical potential in structural packaging, while using only natural, renewable fibres that are easily recyclable with household paper.

Bespoke colour and design-engineered form –unique brand impact, without the complexity

Bespoke is the name of the game at James Cropper 3D Products. Bespoke colour - with no limitations or concerns about consistency. Bespoke shape and form – thanks to our design-engineered approach, and custom moulding process. This means that despite using only one natural material, our customers can create the unique brand impact they need.


Performance features without the extras

Keeping products secure inside packaging is vital for protection and presentation, and the material cost of this can be high. But with JC3DP our moulded paper, that’s not the case. Using state-of-the-art tooling, we shape pulp directly within a bespoke mould to build complex cavities and retention features right into the mould, with enough strength and precision to protect even glass or other delicate items.

Natural strength, hinges and closures

An important benefit of moulding paper is uniform wall thickness – which can be hard to achieve in other materials. This uniformity, even when complex cavities are required in the design, makes moulded paper superbly strong as structural packaging in its own right. We can also create natural hinges and closures within our designs – reducing and even removing the need for any other materials.

Precision embossing – show off your branding, and tell your consumers how to recycle

Confusion about how to recycle packaging is one of the main reasons so much packaging goes to waste. The great thing about moulded paper is that with one beautifully embossed message – you’ve made your environmental commitment clear to your consumers, and their housework a little easier.


Simple, natural, authentic

Our moulded paper is a material with natural quality and texture, made without using glue or flocking seen in other types of packaging. When combined with card or paper outer packaging, it has a natural feel of quality and authenticity – and of course, makes a single-material packaging solution possible.

The most exciting thing is that all this is possible because of a solution that comes from nature. Our moulded paper is made using only renewable wood fibre from sustainably managed forests – no hidden ingredients or hard to recycle mixtures of materials.”

At a time when ease of packaging recycling is being recognised as one of the greatest challenges in the retail world, we’re proud to be making a difference – and we’re looking forward to helping all sorts of product brands do the same.