Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Thermoformable paper as an alternative to plastic

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Thermoformable paper as an alternative to plastic
FibreForm - a stretchable, thermoformable paper targeted at food packaging applications
In Use – Some materials on the market are already using FibreForm as their basis, for example Flextrus' Paperlite (used for cold meat packaging by Waitrose) and Plastique's Paperlite rPET (which combines FibreForm material with recycled PET to further enhance the environmental credentials)


Product Categories

Relevant Materials

Relevant Packaging Formats

Supply Chain Phase
Design, Raw materials / Ingredients


Officially launched at Scanpack in October 2010, Billerud's FibreForm® is intended to challenge plastic as a packaging material in specially shaped packaging such as trays and blister packs for food and consumer goods. Previously there has not been a renewable material that could undergo thermoforming in food packaging machines, but due to its high elasticity, up around 20% compared with normal paper that has elasticity of 2-4%, customers can now use FibreForm without having to make expensive capital equipment investments.  The material can be processed on existing equipment.
FibreForm increases the proportion of renewable resources used in the construction of packaging, although it does not eliminate the need for non-renewable materials altogether. The FibreForm material alone does not provide the barrier properties required for protecting food products; these are achieved by combining the material with polymer coatings or laminates.


Potential Benefits

The is an example of how the advantages of different materials can be combined to improve packaging. Whilst polymers are still required in order to deliver the barrier properties necessary to protect food products, the use of FibreForm to provide the structural basis of the packaging reduces the overall reliance on non-renewable materials.

Intellectual Property

Billerud has a number of patents and patents pending covering the intellectual property for this material and the processing of the material:

The following are valid patents held by Billerud:

  • Production of high stretch paper (WO 96/31647)
  • Three dimensional, barrier applied paper packages such as trays, blisters and other packages (EP 0 772 522 B1 and EP 0 876 536 B1))
  • A method to produce three dimensional non barrier applied paper packages (EP 0 946 353 B1)
The following are patents pending:
  • Production of high stretch paper (WO 2005/100686 A1)
  • Method of obtaining a three dimensional shape on a paper material (EP 1 985 437 A2)
  • Deep embossed corrugated boxes (WO 2009/101526 A1)
  • Deep embossed carrier bags and carton board boxes (EP 2 093 152 A1)
  • Method of producing shaped tubes such as cups and bottles (EP 1 974 898 A2)

Consultant View

Increasing the use of renewable materials is not a specific objective of the Courtauld Commitment, but reducing our reliance on finite resources is integral to the concept of sustainable development.

Contacts and Further Information

Company details:
Head office
Visiting address: Gustav III:s boulevard 18
Postal address: Box 703
SE-169 27 Solna
Tel: +46-8-553 335 00

Technology contact details:
UK sales office contact:
Darren Thomas (UK Sales Director, Sustainable Packaging Solutions)
Tel:  07912 379505

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