Innovation That Matters

The paper bottles and jars are made by recycling materials, and are easily recyclable – creating a circular system | Photo source Ecologic Brands

Startup develops paper-plastic combo bottles

Work & Lifestyle

Ecologic converts cardboard and plastic waste products into bottles and liners that are shipped flat and assembled by customers

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Spotted: When Californian financial advisor Julie Corbett picked up a gap in the market for laundry soap available in environmentally-friendly containers, she discovered that moulding cardboard around a thin plastic lining could create a sustainable alternative to all-plastic bottles. She assembled her first bottles in her kitchen, using a glue gun, but several million dollars in investments later, her company Ecologic Brands, is developing further.

Ecologic now manufactures bottles at its own 60,000-square-foot factory in California. The plant converts cardboard and plastic waste products into bottles and liners that are shipped flat and assembled by Ecologic’s customers, who fill them with cleaners, food and beauty products. When the bottles are empty, the liner can be easily removed and both liner and bottle recycled.

The company’s engineers have developed their proprietary manufacturing process from scratch and have filed 37 patents for the processes, to ensure that the cardboard bottles can be used just like traditional plastic containers. Ecologic points out that their process uses 60 per cent less plastic than conventional bottles and this year, they expect to produce around 75 million cardboard bottles and jar. 

Moreover, after a slow start, manufacturers are finally taking notice of the product in a big way. Corbett says that, “What’s crazy to me is that our first bottle was on the market for nine years, and finally consumers are noticing it, and more and more retailers want it. I guess we were just ahead of our time.” The company was recently acquired by international packaging solutions manufacturer Jabil.

Developing sustainable and circular packaging solutions is a key part of reducing reliance on plastics. So, it is no wonder that we are seeing growing numbers of innovations in this space. Some of the solutions we at Springwise have recently covered include compostable takeaway containers and a paper whiskey bottle.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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