Molded Fiber 101

June 03, 2020

As a restaurant owner or foodservice provider, it is highly likely that you have seen and used molded fiber, but perhaps you don’t know what it is. Molded fiber is a material that is made from various fibrous substances, like recycled paper, cardboard or other natural fibers, such as sugarcane, wheat straw or bamboo. Different types of fiber provide different levels of strength and durability, as well as different colors. This is important, because molded fiber is used in many industries to create products or packaging. Here are some examples:

The Food Industry:
Carryout food containers, single use cups, bowls, and plates, and egg or produce containers.

Planter pots and seedling trays.

Packaging for vehicle parts, household items like furniture and appliances, electronics like TVs and cell phones.

Single use medical bowls, kidney dishes, bedpans, etc.

Molded fiber is formed into the desired shape and then cured, not cut from sheets like paperboard. There are four types of molded fiber products.

1. Thick wall: Single mold; oven dried.
Often used as support packaging for non-fragile items.

2. Transfer Mold: Has one forming mold and one transfer mold; oven dried. Often used for egg cartons and food trays, but is also seen in electronics product packaging and disposable hospital items, office equipment, and tableware.

3. Thermoformed (thin wall): Created using multiple heated molds; dried in the mold, no oven curing needed. This appears similar to thermoformed plastic material and is also used for support packaging for various products.

4. Processed: Any molded fiber products that are processed beyond being molded and cured. Some examples are: Hot or after pressed, perforated, die cut, printed, colored.

Molded fiber is excellent for creating any shape you need. This can save money on transportation costs, especially when compared to polystyrene. However, an even bigger benefit to using molded fiber is its sustainability.

Since it is made out of all natural, fibrous material, molded fiber is completely recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, and incinerator friendly. It also can be created from recycled material! In the manufacturing process, both the fiber and water used can be recycled and reused in the future, resulting in almost zero waste.

With benefits like versatility and 100% sustainability, molded fiber is an ideal material to use in your packaging or products. If you are looking for molded fiber food containers or tableware, see our selection here!