Often imitated,
never equaled

K3® the original since 1982

K3® – the original since 1982

When it comes to cardboard-plastic combinations, we’re a tough act to follow, having been at the cutting edge of innovation with K3® solutions for 40 years. How do we do it? As the inventors of K3®, we know the packaging inside out. We have been working with our network of partners for over four decades to keep improving cardboard-plastic combinations, making them even more user-friendly and, crucially, even more environmentally friendly.

That’s why the top choice for anyone wanting attractive, sustainable, and practical packaging that will give their product the best possible protection is K3® – the original from Greiner Packaging.

K3® - the benefits at a glance:

Plastic content minimized:

The cardboard wrap lends sturdiness to the plastic cup so that the cup can have particularly thin walls.

CO2 emissions reduced:

Using less plastic to produce a K3® cup also significantly reduces the CO2 emissions associated with the cups. 

Easy to separate:

It’s no hassle for consumers to detach the cardboard wrap from the plastic cup and dispose of them separately. The new, protected Greiner Packaging tear-off system makes the separation process extra simple. The unprinted cup produces top-quality recycled material.

Use of recycled materials:

The cardboard wrap can be made from up to 100% recycled material. And the plastic cup can contain recycled material, too – even as much as 100% r-PET. 

Unique design options:

The cardboard wrap can be printed on both sides and custom-finished for maximum visual appeal. Window cutouts can also be incorporated in the cardboard wrap to give consumers a first glimpse of the product inside. 

The evolution of an innovation

What started life 40 years ago in the small town of Diepoldsau in Switzerland has since spread far and wide – it’s now impossible to imagine supermarket shelves around the world being without cardboard-plastic combinations. And the number of products packaged in K3® has also steadily increased. But that’s no reason for us to rest on our laurels. Quite the opposite: Greiner Packaging never stops developing K3® and adapting the packaging in line with new customer requirements and market conditions, continuing to set new trends all the while. Cardboard-plastic combinations can now look back on 40 exciting years – and there’s no sign of the success story coming to an end. 

The first self-separating K3®

The first self-separating cardboard-plastic cup is called K3® r100. Intensive development work has resulted in a K3® cup whose cardboard wrap detaches itself from the plastic cup during the waste disposal process. The innovation sets new standards in terms of recyclability.

New tear-off system for K3®

A newly developed tear tab incorporated in the cardboard wrap makes separating cardboard from plastic even easier and more intuitive.

K3® with a folding wrap

Customers receive separate plastic containers and folded cardboard wraps. A machine unfolds the wraps and slips them over the containers just ahead of the filling stage. This type of cardboard-plastic combination helps to keep inventory to a minimum, making it especially suitable for customers who use a wide range of decoration options because they offer their product in different markets or under various brand names.

K3® with a hollow bottom

Greiner Packaging develops a cardboard-plastic cup that features a concave base and is also wrapped in cardboard. The design is particularly convenient for use with barcodes, which can be printed on the base and simply swiped across checkout scanners.

K3® Multipacks

Cardboard-plastic combinations can also be made in multipacks of various sizes. It is even possible to use different decorations for the single cups – ideal for different tastes.

1982: birth of K3®

In response to the oil crisis raging at the time, a plastic packaging manufacturer in Diepoldsau, Switzerland, forges a new path and invents a plastic cup made with less material, which it combines with a cardboard wrap.

Did you know?

... K3® was created during the oil crisis in order to use less raw material.


...It takes 3,800 kg less plastic to produce one million K3® cups than to make direct-printed cups of the same size (500g, 95mm)

... A cardboard-plastic cup causes the emission up to 17% less CO2 than a direct-printed cup of the same size (500ml, 95mm)

... Cardboard-plastic combinations are suitable for countless markets (dairy, salads, sauces, ready meals, washing powder etc.). 

Get in touch

Want to speak with our K3® experts? Get in touch. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

Jens Krause
Sales Director