The cup, which tapers from the lid to a narrower base, has a plastic interior but a shaped cardboard structure on the outside.
Kenneth Boldog, head of Greiner Packaging’s Division K, the company’s designing branch, said sleeves had been the only practical way to decorate special cup shapes until the launch of K3D. The K3D allows a tapered cup itself to be decorated.
Better packaging for point-of-sale
“This will benefit our customers in the dairy industry in particular, because they will be able to stage-manage their products to perfection at the point of sale," he said.
The plastic and cardboard can be separated by the consumer, allowing brands to use all the space on both sides of the cardboard for marketing.
“With cardboard on the outside of the cup, you can have premium decoration,” Boldog said.
“And a very important point is we are able to print the cardboard segments both outside and inside. So you have a wider range of communication. Inside the cardboard you can have games, recipes or more information about the company or product.”
The cardboard has a structural role and is nicer for consumers to pick up and handle, said Boldog. It also acts as an insulator.
Cardboard is 'friendlier'
“If you touch cardboard, it’s much warmer and friendlier to skin than touching plastics,” he said.
“The advantage of the cardboard is you use less plastic. We were able to produce a cardboard plastic combination that reduces plastic by up to 70%,” he added.
The K3D stands for the German ‘Karton-Kunststoff-Kombinationen (cardboard-plastic combinations), with the D signifying the ‘deformability’ of the cardboard to a tapered shape.
Greiner has clients lined up to use the cup for dairy products, which Boldog suggests could include yogurt, cream and desserts. The next step is to extend the range of the K3D, he added.
A large portion of the K3 range of packaging is made from renewable raw material or recycled cardboard, the company says. This means it has good CO2 balance, reduced plastic, and a lighter weight which also means energy efficiency in transportation, it adds.