Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on innovative solutions for the packaging sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, you will discover 5 promising sustainable packaging startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Sustainable Packaging Startups
Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of eco-friendly packaging. For this research, we identified 606 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & scaleups developing sustainable packaging solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 606 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
SwapBox – Reusable Food Packaging
The global proliferation of food take-out and delivery solutions considerably increases waste generated from food packaging. Plastic containers, tape to hold packaging pieces together, and the highly disposable nature of food packages all contribute towards higher levels of plastic waste. To counter this effect of food delivery and take-out services, emerging packaging startups are rethinking how we consume and dispose of food from these sources.
SwapBox is a Dutch startup producing sustainable, zero-waste packaging solutions. The startup lowers packaging costs for restaurants by utilizing a pay-per-use model. When customers order take-out, they have the option to choose SwapBox packaging at checkout. After finishing their meal, consumers have 2 weeks to return the SwapBox back to designated drop-off locations so it can be reused. This model enables the immediate adoption of the eco-friendly solution by restaurants. The startup is getting ready to launch its SwapBox App in December 2020 for restaurants in the Amsterdam region.
MyCoffee – Biodegradable Coffee Packaging
The rapid increase in digital advertising forces packaging design teams to constantly find ways to catch the attention of consumers. This results in multiple packages in a big box, with smaller boxes and information pamphlets highlighting the product features. Some startups are utilizing augmented reality (AR) to reduce the amount of added paper-based packaging materials. Other emerging companies are deprioritizing elaborate packaging altogether to offer practical and environmentally-responsible alternatives.
Danish startup MyCoffee sells organic coffee in biodegradable capsules to eliminate the use of plastic in coffee packaging. Customers of the startup then dispose of the capsules with other household waste or add it to their compost. This solution helps reduce the quantity of waste that is sent to landfills from households every day.
Wallaby Water – Recyclable Packaged Drinking Water
Despite the widespread global understanding of the drawbacks of plastic waste, almost all countries still struggle to contain their use. One reason for this failure is the waste generated from packaged drinking water bottles, which is harder to replace due to the essential nature of drinking water. Some estimates suggest that almost 1.500 plastic water bottles are disposed of every second. This drives emerging packaging companies to find sustainable alternatives to distribute water in large quantities.
Australian startup Wallaby Water takes advantage of the higher recycling rates for aluminum to offer drinking water in a can. Aluminum packaging for drinking water allows companies to recycle and reuse the packaging since aluminum does not degrade from recycling. Wallaby’s water cans offer longer shelf-life and are also lighter to transport compared to plastic water bottles.
Aggarwal Biotech – Bioplastic Packaging Materials
Starch possesses superior thermal processing and plasticization characteristics, making it ideal for melting and forming under the usual packaging-related processes of injection molding, film extrusion, blowing, or vacuum- and thermoforming. Starch also originates from almost abundant renewable supplies such as potatoes, corn, and tapioca, among others. Startups are exploring the use of bioplastics to create more sustainable packaging material.
Aggarwal Biotech is an Indian startup specializing in compounds made from agricultural resources, such as thermoplastic starch that is blended with various other biodegradable polymers. The startup’s compounds are biodegradable, compostable, and water-soluble, which helps reduce marine pollution caused by plastic waste. The startup manufactures biopolymer compounds for application in extrusion blowing of film for shopping bags, packing of grocery, fruits, vegetables, and apparel, as well as garbage bags, disposal bags, and agricultural films.
Spruce – Refillable Cleaning Product Packaging
Almost all companies are seeking solutions to implement circular and zero-waste processes and products as demanded by consumers. A truly zero-waste economy aims to eliminate sending any hazardous materials, such as plastics, to landfills. This means product and packaging companies have to find recyclable and reusable solutions for almost any product available today. For example, startups in the cosmetics, personal, and home care industries are developing environmentally-sustainable solutions for both their products and their packaging.
Spruce is a British startup offering refillable cleaning products. The startup’s non-toxic and chemical-free cleaning products are available in refill packs, to which customers add water before use. Spruce provides its aluminum-based Eternity Bottle that lasts for over 100 refills. This solution helps reduce the amount of plastic waste sent to landfills and also ensures toxic substances do not enter water systems around the globe.
What About The Other 601 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence and enable you to achieve your goals faster. The 5 sustainable packaging startups showcased above are promising examples out of 606 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.