5 Plant-Based Startups Offering Innovative Packaging Solutions

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As every crevice and ocean of the earth chokes on plastic, humans are beginning to take notice of the havoc it has wreaked on the planet. Plastic packaging in particular, which is the hallmark of consumerism and the ‘throwaway culture’ we practice, is accumulating in landfills with no solution in sight for its disposal. Of the 380 million tons of plastic menace created every year, food packaging is the second largest contributor (cigarette butts being the first).

Governments and global organizations are playing their part in curbing this gigantic problem before it ruins the planet as we know it. Food packaging industries that lie at the root of this issue too are stepping up to aid the reversal of this damage. Let’s learn about the 5 top startups that are creating packaging solutions using sustainable and bio-degradable materials.

Table of Contents

Top 5 Plant-Based Startups

Start-ups promising eco-solutions to plastic waste are springing up across the world. Using locally available waste materials or plants, these businesses are creating a positive impact on the planet, one step at a time.

Temper Pack (2015) 

TemperPack specializes in thermal packaging for perishable goods. Their ClimaCell technology is designed to meet the needs of companies involved in cold chain operations. It helps in maintaining temperatures during transits involving 24-96 hours, for refrigerated or frozen goods.

Company Over View

Head Quarters

Richmond (USA)

Website

www.temperpack.com

Investors

$234 Million

What is ClimaCell?

It is a foam made using 90% corn starch and works the same way as a polystyrene foam. By trapping air and minimizing conduction and convection, it helps retain the desired temperature in the package. The solid structure and pre-formed hinges make them retain their shape and easier to fit the liners into existing boxes.

Where is it used?

TemperPack packaging finds use in industries that deal in pharmaceuticals, ready-to-eat foods, online grocery delivery, floral deliveries, diagnostics, and premium meats among others.

How is it Helpful?

By swapping plastic foam insulation with the ClimaCell plant-based liners, the Scope 3 CO2 emissions and plastic waste are reduced. Their liners are made of 90% paper and cornstarch which makes them 100% non-toxic and easily recyclable at home.

Plant Switch (2020)

With a mission to cater to consumer demands with sustainable and biodegradable alternatives, Plant Switch focuses on reducing the use of single-use plastics. Their products cater to the food service industry and include plant-based agave straws, cutlery, and takeout.

Company Over View
Head QuartersTexas (USA)
Websitehttps://www.plantswitch.com/
Funding Amount$3.7 Million

What is Agave Waste?

Tequila is produced from the succulent plant agave. The leftover waste after tequila production i.e., agave fibers, and liquids are upcycled to create a resin. This resin is then used to craft biodegradable products.

Where is it used?

Plant Switch creates low-cost food ware like agave spoons, forks, straws, as well as bamboo take out which can be used by restaurants in the food business.

How is it Helpful?

The agave products crafted by Plant Switch have been shown to degrade over 90% in the first 100 days, and 100% over the next 1-5 years (in simulated landfill conditions).

Mushroom Material

Taking into account the on ban polystyrene in many countries across the world, Mushroom Material has created sustainable packaging by combining mycelium with agricultural waste.

Company Over View

Head Quarters

Auckland, NZ

Website

https://www.mushroommaterial.com/

Funding Amount

$280K

What Is Mycelium?

Mycelium refers to the root structure of a mushroom which produces fast-growing fibers. By mixing mycelium with other plant-based waste, a 100% biodegradable material can be produced with the same protective capabilities as polystyrene.

Where is it used?

The packaging created by Mushroom Material is shock absorbent, fire resistant, water-proof, and can be customized per the client’s requirements. The company is initially targeting the cosmetic industry to offer its packaging solution, with the ability to cater to other industries as well.

How is it Helpful?

The mushroom-based packaging is 100% biodegradable and degrades within six weeks of disposal. It can be naturally degraded in landfills or personal gardens as well.

Biotic (2020)

Biotic was born with a singular goal to combat the damage caused by microplastics that affect everything ranging from agriculture to humans, and animals. They specialize in producing bio-based alternatives i.e., macroalgae to manufacture packaging, disposables, and single-use products.

Company Over View

Head Quarters

Tel Aviv-Yafo Tel Aviv District

Website

https://www.biotic-labs.com/

Funding Amount

$2.2m

What is Macroalgae?

Macroalgae grow naturally in oceans and are free of endotoxins. It has positive effects in terms of CO2 and does not compete with arable land. Using this marine biomass the company produces fully biodegradable PHBV (PHA) polymers that are further fashioned into packaging products.

Where is it used?

The thermoplastic polymers produced by Biotic find a wide usage in multiple industries. The firm is currently collaborating with manufacturers in consumer goods, food & Beverage, automotive, and textile industries.

How is it Helpful?

Since their PHBV polymer is made using fully biodegradable material recycling is not a concern. It, therefore, frees the consumer from the task of collecting and sorting trash.

Evoware (2016)

A subsidiary of Evo & Co, Evoware initiated the #RethinkPlastic movement to stop the damage caused by single-use plastic and empower individuals and companies to switch to sustainable materials. They create edible bioplastics using seaweed as the main ingredient.

Company Over View

Head Quarters

Jakarta, Indonesia

Website

https://rethink-plastic.com/home/

Funding Amount

What is the Raw Material Used?

Sustainably produced seaweed was the initial material used by the company to manufacture biodegradable material. Since then, they have been innovating to harness the power of plants like cassava, rice, sugarcane, areca, birchwood, and bamboo to produce a variety of packaging solutions.

Where is it used?

Currently, the company makes bags, straws, wrappings, food containers, and cutlery using the above-listed materials. These products find usage in the food & beverage, retail, and e-commerce industries.

How is it Helpful?

The company does not use any chemicals in their manufacturing process. The seaweed is grown sustainably and does not require any deforestation or land acquisition, unlike other bio-sourced materials.  Per the company’s website, they have successfully replaced 980k plastic bags and sachets, 80k plastic containers and cutleries, and 2.2 million plastic cups and straws.

Conclusion 

These start-ups are promoting a socially responsible business model that provides innovative solutions to promote an environment-friendly lifestyle. The plant-based solutions to plastic waste offered by them can be a game changer both for the planet and the farming community.

General manufacturing, industrial machinery, transport equipment, and ICT equipment would all likely experience faster growth as a result of the UAE’s ambitions to make significant investments in its own infrastructure. Healthcare, energy, and aviation are further industries sponsored by UAE government officials and are predicted to experience significant growth.

It would be wise for anyone conducting business in the UAE or wanting to do so to think about obtaining patent protection there as a way to safeguard their financial investments and acquire a competitive advantage.

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