Packaging, and food packaging, specifically, is a key factor in driving plastic pollution, and one of the greatest areas of concern is the increasing rise in single-use plastics - 50% of plastic becomes trash in less than a year. Exploring the landscape of single-use plastic packaging, compostable plastic film rose as an area of interest.
Flexible plastic film (i.e., cling wrap) has transformed food security prospects, but as a food wrapper, it is among the most common ocean pollutants, it is difficult to recycle and clogs recycling machines, and it’s prone to leakage from waste management systems. At the same time, innovations for this product seem to offer opportunities to take over a significant portion of the plastic market: flexible plastic film, due to its versatility, can serve multiple industries and is a product from which other applications can be produced, such as bags and labels. It is estimated to represent about 20% of the plastic market value.
Here are some of the initial criteria we are looking into.
A sustainable alternative to a flexible plastic film that is:
Comparable to plastic functionality (transparent, durable, and versatile material that is water and air resistant to keep produce safe and fresh)
Food, environment, and human safe
Biodegradable in a marine environment, anaerobic environments and home compost
Cost-competitive with existing thin-film plastic production
Compatible with most existing packaging machines
- Scalable (i.e., sustainable feedstock, production pace)
We would love to hear your thoughts about the direction and the areas for investigation. Are you familiar with innovations and initiatives in this space? Are there specific challenges for innovators in this space?