As customers start to demand a more ecologically minded approach to purchasing, the provision of climate-friendly products has become increasingly important. TIPA Compostable Packaging was born out of the need to reduce plastic pollution and its success has seen it awarded Corporate Vision’s accolade for Most Influential Leader in Clean Technology – 2020. In the light of this victory, we profiled the company to discover more.
TIPA believes that in order for its packaging to be environmentally friendly, it should behave like an orange peel, which decomposes after wrapping a product, leaving no toxic residue. What remains of its packaging can be used as compost.
When TIPA was co-founded by Daphna Nissenbaum, it was on the ‘orange peel’ principle. The company aims to tackle a vital segment of the plastic waste challenge: flexible plastic packaging. Though rigid plastics are partly recyclable, flexible packaging isn’t, and it is taking up a growing portion of the world’s packaging market, due to being lighter, more convenient, and smaller in volume. Until now, environmental activism and waste initiatives have largely focused on recycling to solve the problem of materials like plastic, without accounting for whether or not the item is actually recycled. Conventional flexible plastic packaging cannot easily be recycled because its material is complex, contaminated by food, and too lightweight to be recycled on a practical scale. TIPA set out to replace a virtually un-recyclable offender with something that has the end-of-life of organic waste.
The company’s vision was to have it all. TIPA’s experts created flexible packaging that offers consumers and brands all of flexible’s positive elements, such as the durability, transparency and shelf life that they have come to expect from conventional plastics, with the same end-of-life as organic matter. Having come from a business background, Nissenbaum knew that compostable packaging could only hope to gain traction against its conventional counterparts if it met the same performance specifications as conventional flexibles, and fit seamlessly into today’s plastic methodology, logistics, and manufacturing practices. TIPA’s IP covers a range of one-ply films and multi-ply laminates with a range of packaging applications, including open bags, zipper bags, resealable bags, bar wrappers, and stand-up pouches, as well as reels of film for converting, flowpacks, and lidding for a variety of products and packaging types. All of which are manufactured and processed using existing chains of supply, allowing the company to scale up quickly, and globally.
TIPA’s products fit the bill in many respects. The films, laminations, and product applications are manufactured using the same machinery used to produce conventional plastics and because the product is formed from fully compostable plant-based and fossil-based polymers, TIPA’s packaging disintegrates within a few months in either home or industrial compost. This is a significant improvement on the hundreds of years that it can take for some plastics to completely degrade.
Food waste is a growing concern for food producers, governments, and consumers all over the world, and flexible plastic packaging has been one of the market’s solutions to shelf-life for everything from fresh produce to ground coffee. While this has been successful in lowering food waste during storage, transport, and distribution, plastic waste has reached unprecedented volumes and brands are seeking substitutes for plastic that protect their products without adding to pollution. TIPA’s packaging can already be found in major supermarkets in the US, UK, Australia, and Mexico, with no discernible difference to consumers but a considerable benefit to the environment. With products 20-30% bio-based as a minimum requirement, the positive impact is clear. Their packaging is used to bag bananas, flow-wrap granola bars, pack dried fruit and nuts, coffee, animal supplements, chicken, meat, bread, spices, and more in a growing number of retailers all over the world.
Other industries have made the step to finding more environmentally friendly solutions to their current contributions to the climate crisis, as well. As the textile industry produces an astounding 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year – more than the international aviation and shipping industries combined – their need to find green solutions is paramount. TIPA is equipped to assist with is the staggering amount of waste plastic that the fashion industry creates. Some brands have already made deliberate steps to reduce their environmental footprint, finding sustainable alternatives when single-use packaging is necessary. Inditex has already pledged to eliminate single-use plastic packaging by next year, while top fashion designers such as Gabriela Hearst, Mara Hoffman, and Stella McCartney have already made the switch to compostable bags by TIPA.
TIPA has found itself on the brink of a new era, as the balance tips towards environmentally responsible innovation. Consumer’s attitudes are forcing government action, as well as market transformation. In a relatively new industry, market research firm IMARC Group sees a growth from $168 billion in 2018 to around $240 billion by 2024. At the forefront of this wave, TIPA has the incredible opportunity to take advantage and define the direction in which the industry goes.
With such a clear commitment to the environment, it can be of no surprise that sustainability is a priority in every aspect of TIPA’s operations. These commitments and goals are embedded into the mission, strategy and code of business conduct. All elements along the value chain, from the sourcing of raw materials to the components of the film, from manufacturing processes and delivery to end users have the principles of environmental responsibility taken into consideration. Assurance of the company’s compliance with environmental aims can be found in its adhering to EU 13432 and ASTM D6400 standards, with products, compounds and films also certified for both home and industrial composting through the OK Compost mark by the TUV institute.
The work of TIPA is perfectly placed to revolutionise the way in which the world sees packaging. This viable alternative doesn’t disrupt consumer or manufacturer practices, but is effectively disrupting an industry that has long needed the change.
Company: TIPA Compostable Packaging
Contact: Rebecca Najjar Rudick