Providing the perfect pulp for Paboco’s paper bottle project

To make a paper bottle the world has never imagined you need an outstanding raw material that make it possible. Together with innovation expert Paboco, we co-create the future of the paper bottle project by providing a pulp that enables a strong paper shell with outstanding design and branding capabilities.

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Dry products, food, cosmetics, beverages or any other liquid content all require unique pulp blends to create packaging with special qualities and features. The fibers must be strong, yet mouldable in different ways for the specific area of usage. In the case of the paper bottle, the shell also needs to withstand pressure from carbonated beverages.
To create the specific pulp formula requires both fingertip sensation and a solid chemistry education. Helena Karlsson at BillerudKorsnäs Skärblacka has both. Being a development engineer at the mill is much about working with her team and other experts across the organisation to co-create unique fiber blends for various kinds of paper packaging. A role that quickly made her involved in the collaboration with Paboco and the paper bottleproject.

Rough fibers, strong paper shell

Developing the pulp is very important. The very material, which properties create unique design opportunities for each customer to shape their own bottle.
Helena Karlsson, BillerudKorsnäs
“We must have run hundreds of tests in the lab to find the perfect pulp”, Helena says. The more roughened treated fibers, the stronger the paper shell becomes to withstand the pressure from carbonated beverages. For this purpose, it is important to ensure continuous access to a pulp with the proper quality and mixture. Something that became possible for Paboco, when Helena and the team assisted them in installing and calibrating their own paper mill refiner on site.
Another aspect of the pulp, Helena emphasises, is the drying time of the shell. The pulp mixture is injected with high pressure into a mould to create an optimal shape and to ensure maximum dewatering in the process. For this purpose, it has proved that a pulp mixture of  long fibers works best.

A continuous development process

“Today, Paboco is more or less independent of us in the basic use of the pulp, but there are constantly new ideas for optimization we like to try to meet new requirements, so we are still in contact. Being part of this project, with the potential to change the industry and people's choice of sustainable packaging, is a strong motivator for me”, Helena continues. “I want to make a difference, and to collaborate with like-minded spirits will be crucial for the outcome”. 
“The first bottles we shaped already in 2013 were made from recycled newspapers and envelopes. We realized quite soon that we needed to bring in more expertise to refine our paper bottles further. Helena Karlsson and Lars Hildén from BillerudKorsnäs came with that expertise and our collaboration has proven great progress. Wood fibers is such an amazing material, not only is it a living and renewable material but also very versatile depending how you treat and refine the fibers.
Today we can make paper bottles that withstand high CO2 pressure.
Morten Frandsen Pulp Process Technician at Paboco

Together for a sustainable tomorrow

At BillerudKorsnäs, we believe that working together with Paboco and all involved experts is the best way to capture new opportunities and co-create the future of sustainable packaging. Many challenges and collaboration efforts still remain in the paper bottle project . Our shared vision is to create the world’s first fully biobased and recyclable paper bottle that in the future could harmlessly degrade if accidentally put in nature. A paper bottle for liquid content and even carbonated beverages. An opportunity for our planet and everyday life if we succeed.

WHAT IF your favourite soda came in a paper bottle?

A paper bottle in every hand – that’s what the future holds if the paper bottle project succeed. Read more about our collaboration with Paboco.


Started in 2019, Paboco is a joint venture between paper packaging material developer Billerud and bottle manufacturing specialist Alpla.