An Israeli company is working to make sustainable packaging a reality by focusing on developing plastic packaging that is completely compostable
Spotted: The world produces 141 million tonnes of plastic packaging each year. But there are a lot of ideas for ways to replace plastic, including bio-based plastic alternatives and petroleum-based plastics that decompose. Now, an Israeli startup called TIPA is combining both approaches to create a viable system of plastics for the circular economy. Rather than focus on only bio-plastics or only compostables, they manufacture a variety of polymers – all of which are fully compostable.
The company was founded by Daphna Nissenbaum, who was determined to find an encompassing solution to the problem of plastic waste. TIPA focuses on flexible plastics, which can be difficult to recycle. The company’s vision is to create flexible packaging with the same qualities as conventional plastic, such as durability and shelf life. The twist? TIPA aims for its packaging to be 100 per cent compostable.
TIPA works with clients to devise the appropriate compostable packaging, then works with manufacturers to produce the product, such as film or laminate. They also work with customers to develop communications that make it clear the packaging is recyclable, to ensure that it ends up in the right facility.
The company uses both bio-based and petroleum-based polymers. This may seem like a contradiction for a company arguing that its products are sustainable, but TIPA’s vice president for North America, Michael Waas told The Spoon that they really face two different challenges. “One is the source of the material, whether it’s coming from oil or a bio-based source, and then what happens to it at the end of life. And so TIPA uses a combination of both bio and fossil-based, but absolutely everything we produce is certified compostable.”
The use of bio-polymers is often seen as the key to reducing the use of virgin plastics, and to creating compostable plastics. In fact, it often seems like just about anything can be turned into plastic. At Springwise, we have recently spotted bio-plastics made from plant waste, food waste, and kelp.
Written By: Lisa Magloff