Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Rigid paper can for oils

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Rigid paper can for oils
Paper "can" developed as an alternative to metal for packing oil based products.
In Use – The rigid paper can is manufactured and filled in the UK. It is suitable for most vehicle fluid applications, and is currently used for brake and clutch fluid. While the automotive applications are a new platform for the rigid paper can, different configurations are currently used as a replacement for metal cans in coffee, powdered beverage mixes, snacks, nuts, refrigerated dough and frozen concentrated juice packaging.

Packaging Reduction, Recycled content/recyclability

Product Categories
Food, Home Improvement, Household & Personal Care, Other

Relevant Materials

Relevant Packaging Formats

Supply Chain Phase


The rigid paper can for oils was designed for a supplier of vehicle fluids looking to replace its current metal container.  The customer was looking for a less costly and more environmentally responsible alternative. 
The rigid paper can needed to meet the moisture retention properties required for a four-year shelf life, and be sufficiently robust for insertion of a screw cap.  It also needed to counter the impact of spillage or staining that may occur during the production process.  The rigid paper can weighs 31% less than the incumbent metal can, resulting in reduced transport emissions both to and from the filling plant.  The can body is made from 58 percent recycled post consumer fibre.  
According to the Sustainable Packaging Council’s COMPASS (Comparative Packaging Assessment) tool, the rigid can uses less water and fossil fuels, and results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.  The assessment included raw material manufacture, package conversion and end-of-life; it did not include distribution. 
The rigid paper can was developed by Sonoco.

Potential Benefits

The greatest potential for this packaging format is in it's positive benefits in terms of cost, material and CO2 impacts when considered against existing alternative materials such as steel. These benefits have been quantified using a life cycle assessment approach.

Intellectual Property

Sonoco controls the intellectual property on this package.

Consultant View

This product represents a useful alternative for storage and packaging of  Automotive products such as oils and brake fluids.  The technology can also be applied to a wide variety of food products such as coffee and snacks.
Reviewers should also search the REID database using key words such as: Recyled materials, light weighting and new materials

Contacts and Further Information

Mr. Sean Cairns, General Manager
Sonoco Consumer Products, Ltd.
Stokes Street, Clayton
Manchester M11 4QX UK (office)
44.75.8439.2636 (mobile)

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