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Blow molded liners for cardboard containers

One approach to avoid layered materials in packaging is to blow mold a liner into a cardboard container for liquids like milk and juice.

Photo of Cary Howe
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(Below is a link to a PDF booklet)

Blow Modeled Liner PDF

A polyethylene liner is blow molded into a plain cardboard outer container. The cardboard provides support so the inner liner can be paper thin. The flexible inner bladder would allow the cap to be recessed for transport and storage then pulled out to dispense the contents. By using a removable liner it would eliminate the need for plastic coated paper which is impossible to recycle and cannot be composted. Polyethylene and cardboard are both easy to recycle.

This type of container would be suitable for all kinds of liquids and oils including milk and juices as well as cooking oils.

Once empty the box top can be torn off and the inner liner removed so they can be recycled separately.

By having a recessed cap in a square box a pallet can hold 25% or more product reducing shipping costs with the products taking up an equally small area on a store shelf.


Where are you / your team located?


How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

This is intended to replace plastic coatings with an extremely thin liner that can removed by the consumer so the plastic component can be disposed of separate of the cardboard portion.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

None of the case studies deal with coated hard to recycle items. Geographically by going to box packages with liners shipping costs can be reduced offsetting some of the increased costs in packaging. The items would also take up less shelf space reducing the floor space and costs to stores. The main benefit is ease of recycling. Components can be separated by consumers and the cardboard portion can be composted locally with the liner sent off for recycling.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?


How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Existing hardware can produce the packages making scaling up an easy matter. Some testing will be required to produce the blanks that can be blow molded into the cardboard without having holes to avoid leaking.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

The goal would be to produce prototypes and pitch them to manufacturers to gain interest in the approach. Due to higher production costs the ease of recycling and environmnetally positive image would be the selling points.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

I've worked around molding of materials like vacuum forming and blow molding and I know very thin materials can be produced. Sometimes it requires both a positive and negative pressure to achieve desired results so that would be part of the testing process.

Tell us about your work experience

I've worked most of my life in plastic materials and casting processes. I've worked mostly in an art field but I have worked around processes like blow molding and vacuum forming.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

An individual developer and designer.

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Photo of Troy Gardner

Love that simple "hack" of making it blow in vs adhered. Had thought about similar sort of stuff seeing 'box wine' that use that approach in a assembled manner. I'm less clear to what degree these are actually recycled, but in theory it can be done.