5 September 2022
While fiber packaging is by no means a new invention or a novel material in the packaging game – it is seeing more interest from companies as they look for alternatives with a forecasted rising CAGR of 5.40% from 2020 to 2030.
You’ve probably seen molded fiber packaging when you go and get your team’s coffee order from the local cafe and have to get one of those holders that carry 6 cups without breaking (you hope); or the egg containers in the supermarket. At the moment the market is mainly limited to those areas – but it’s gradually growing and is expected to see a rise in the primary packaging industry especially. Wood fiber packaging is so effective because it is derived from trees that have cellulose in them – this element makes the material flexible and easier to use for packaging. Cellulose is a polysaccharide and the most abundant organic polymer on Earth, (also used as the basis of Celluloid, an organic plastic made from the basic chemical rules of Parkesine – for more information on the expansion of packaging materials check out our article Essential: The Importance Of Packaging) having it naturally appear in a packaging material means cheaper production costs and natural biodegrading properties that won’t negatively impact the ecosystem.
Unfortunately fiber packaging has led to issues with illegal logging to get the wood needed for the material. With the climate it has now reached a point where – just like in an industry chain – there is a supply and demand problem. The Earth’s natural resources physically cannot renew quickly enough over a twelve month period to replenish what is being taken. This is leading to increased efforts to find a way to make fiber packaging more sustainable and the materials ethical.
Globally over 80% of the fiber materials are recycled – and because of the material the process can be repeated up to 7 times. This can, of course, change if the material is open to degradation in the form of: biodegrading, being branded with photographs that alter the recycling ability of the material, warm corruption.
There are of course issues that impact this industry more than others (for example the mycelium industry – read more in the article Fungi: The Art Of Mycelium). Issues such as illegal logging, climate change and extreme weather can all have a huge impact on the amount of this material that is available from ethical sources.
So what are the positives of this material?
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