Zero waste packaging addresses the environmental impact of traditional packaging materials. For instance, compostable and biodegradable packaging materials are derived from renewable resources like plant fibers, seaweed, and mushroom mycelium. These materials offer an eco-friendly alternative to conventional plastics, as they naturally break down and return to the environment without causing harm. Additionally, the surge in the adoption of reusable packaging systems, where consumers return or refill containers, reduces the need for single-use packaging. Technological advances further lead to the creation of edible packaging made from materials like seaweed or edible films. It minimizes waste and also provides an innovative and sustainable solution to tackle package waste. These innovations in zero waste packaging contribute to the reduction of plastic pollution, promote a circular economy, and support the transition to more sustainable packaging. Let’s check out the 20 zero waste packaging contributing to it!
20 Zero Waste Packaging Startups to Watch (2024)
- BOXO – Reusable Shipping Bags
- Again – Package Replenishment Supply Chain
- Avant Delivery – Coffee Cup Reuse Infrastructure
- BOTTLESS – Refillable Cartridges for FMCG Goods
- Packaging Cockpit – Packaging Specification Management Software
- Flexcor – Sustainable Protective Packaging
- Go Do Good – Eco-friendly Packaging Materials
- HoldOn – Home Compostable Trash Bags
- Altwater – Infinitely Recyclable Aluminium Bottles
- Paper Cosmetics – Paper Tube Deodorant Packaging
- rhinopaq – Sustainable Shipping Packages
- Movo – Reusable Packages
- ERA zero waste – Organic & Plastic-Free Boxes
- Reusabowl – Rice Husk-based Takeaway Bowls
- futuREproof – Reusable Packaging as a Service
- Circulr – Packaging Reuse Program
- Zero Impack – Circular Food Delivery
- Zuckerpak – Bagasse for Packaging
- Al Tabeeah – Durable Biodegradable Disposables
- Reusables – Zero-Waste Packaging Platform
Global Startup Heat Map highlights 20 Zero Waste Packaging Startups to Watch
Through the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering over 3 790 000+ startups & scaleups globally, we identified 1641 zero waste packaging startups. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the 20 zero waste packaging startups you should watch in 2024 as well as the geo-distribution of all zero waste packaging startups & scaleups we analyzed for this research.
Based on the heat map, we see high startup activity in Western Europe, followed by the USA and India. These zero waste packaging startups work on solutions ranging from packaging replenishment supply chains and packaging recyclability calculations to refillable and reusable packages.
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As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant technologies and industry trends quickly & exhaustively. Based on the data from the platform, the Top 5 Zero Waste Packaging Startup Hubs are in London, New York City, Berlin, Los Angeles & Mumbai. The 20 hand-picked startups highlighted in this report are chosen from all over the world and develop solutions for packaging replenishment supply chains, reusable packages, refillable FMCG packaging, sustainable protective packaging, and more.
Explore 20 Zero Waste Packaging Startups to Watch (2024)
BOXO makes Reusable Shipping Bags
BOXO is a Dutch startup that provides reusable shipping packaging solutions for online retailers, focusing on waste reduction. The company’s product, Boxobag, is a durable, reusable shipping bag made from repurposed big bags, designed to replace single-use cardboard boxes. The bags are available in two variants – Flip Flap and Drybag. They are suitable for clothing, books, small electronics, dried food, cosmetics, and other eCommerce items.
They come in multiple sizes and are adjustable to minimize shipping air, ensuring efficient and eco-friendly packaging. BOXO’s unique subscription model, the BOXO Abonnement (BABO), allows webshops to use Boxobags for a fixed monthly fee and a one-time deposit. This model includes periodic cleaning and repair of the bags, reinforcing their longevity, reducing waste, and furthering sustainability.
Again advances Packaging Replenishment Supply Chain
UK-based startup Again builds a shared infrastructure solution that makes reusable packaging as affordable and scalable as single-use alternatives. Its CleanCell technology reconditions used packaging to high standards. It incorporates custom hardware, computer vision, and robotics to sort and clean the used packaging. CleanCell facilities are located at logistics hubs, reducing transport emissions and costs.
The startup partners with retailers for efficient back-collection of used packaging, enhancing the circularity of the supply chain. The software platform enables efficient supply chain management through features like live return rate statistics, dynamic inventory availability, and streamlined packaging ordering. This way, Again’s approach significantly lowers environmental impact compared to traditional recycling methods.
Avant Delivery builds Coffee Cup Reuse Infrastructure
Avant Delivery is a startup from the USA that develops an end-to-end reusable packaging solution. When customers order at stores that partner with the startup, they get an option to choose reusable cups. They put in a deposit of $1 and the cup is scanned with a unique QR code. When the consumer is finished with the cup, a QR code directs them to return options – (1) find a kiosk, (2) shop a delivery service, (3) request a pickup.
The startup’s return software allows local community members to earn money by picking up cups and returning them to kiosks. Avant Delivery picks up weekly from the kiosks, cleans, and sells the cups back to the stores at a rate cheaper than single-use cups. This way, the startup enables consumers to make a sustainable choice, store owners to reduce packaging waste and reduce cost, and local community members to earn money while also contributing towards zero waste.
BOTTLESS offers Refillable Cartridges for FMCG Goods
BOTTLESS is a startup from France that reduces single-use plastic waste by offering a paper box alternative to traditional plastic bottles. The BOTTLESS system incorporates refillable cartridges. Customers need to replace a single cartridge as needed, rather than entire parts, promoting sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The housing and dispenser in this system are reusable, further contributing to its zero waste nature. BOTTLESS offers a variety of housing materials, including natural leather, wood, glass, paper pipe, paper box, and other sustainable options. The startup’s approach aligns with growing consumer demand for sustainable beauty products, addressing the industry’s significant packaging waste issue.
Packaging Cockpit develops Packaging Specification Management Software
Packaging Cockpit is a startup from Austria that offers a solution for managing packaging specifications across the entire supply chain. This aids in optimizing packaging design for both food and non-food products, leading to reduced packaging material usage. By integrating with GS1 standards, Packaging Cockpit ensures sustainable packaging practices are easily adoptability across the supply chain. The platform’s focus on scientific calculations, including recyclability and ecological impact assessments including CO2eq, directly supporting the development of more sustainable packaging solutions. These features enable companies to make informed decisions that minimize waste and environmental impact.
Flexcor manufactures Sustainable Protective Packaging
USA-based startup Flexcor makes paper-based retention and suspension packaging solutions for shipping fragile items like electronics, glass products, etc. Their retention packaging system utilizes a proprietary film and unique frame design, significantly reducing the need for additional cushioning materials like die-cut foam or bubble wrap.
This approach minimizes waste generated during the packaging process. The suspension packaging secures and suspends products in a shipping container, using a high-protection film and corrugated packaging that is both effective and minimalistic. Both systems align with zero waste principles by ensuring that the packaging materials can be reused or recycled.
Go Do Good uses Eco-friendly Packaging Materials
Indian startup Go Do Good specializes in sustainable packaging solutions, focusing on zero waste and eco-friendly materials. Its Friendly Seaweed Felixble Film is a plastic-free, biodegradable, and compostable alternative to traditional plastic films and pouches. The Green Paper, made from water hyacinth, offers a wood-free, fibrous pulp-based material for various applications.
The Good Coating obtained from non-petroleum-based raw materials makes paper products waterproof, lightweight, and tear-resistant. It is used in eCommerce mailers, food delivery boxes, dip containers, and much more. The Good Bubble Wrap is a coir-based biodegradable alternative to plastic bubble wrap, offering protection for fragile items during transport.
HoldOn provides Home Compostable Trash Bags
HoldOn is a USA-based startup that produces home compostable bags as an alternative to traditional plastic bags. Its product range includes compostable kitchen trash bags and zip-seal gallon bags. These bags are made from plant-based, non-toxic materials like polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT), polylactic acid (PLA), and cornstarch — which are biodegradable and compostable. The bags are certified by BPI and TUV Austria and are suitable for both home and industrial composting. HoldOn’s products thus break down cleanly without producing microplastics or toxic residue.
Altwater offers Infinitely Recyclable Aluminium Bottles
Altwater is a startup from the UK that introduces a sustainable alternative to single-use bottled water. The company offers a refillable aluminum bottle, prefilled with spring water, designed for repeated use. This bottle is infinitely recyclable, contrasting with the limited recyclability of plastic. The production of these bottles is carbon-neutral, further enabling sustainability. Altwater thus encourages a shift in consumer behavior towards reusable and recyclable water bottles by offering a convenient yet environmentally responsible alternative.
Paper Cosmetics enables Paper Tube Deodorant Packaging
USA-based startup Paper Cosmetics offers sustainable deodorant products with zero waste packaging. Its products are housed in FSC-certified paper-based packaging. They are both biodegradable and recyclable. For the protective layer, the startup uses a cornstarch-based thin membrane, which again is biodegradable. Moreover, Paper Cosmetics also only soy ink to print on its packaging. Thus, making the whole packaging sustainable and zero waste.
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rhinopaq makes Sustainable Shipping Packages
German startup rhinopaq provides sustainable shipping packaging for online shopping. It utilizes a reusable system to reduce the carbon footprint in the online retail sector. The startup’s packaging solution enables multiple reuses to build a circular packaging cycle. The startup also allows rental companies to reduce packaging costs while delivering the parcels and accepting returns. rhinopaq offers pay-per-box and pay-per-use packaging solutions to online retailers to save costs and resources on return shipping.
Movo offers Reusable Packages
Italian startup Movo manufactures reusable packaging solutions for eCommerce companies. The startup allows final customers to return the packaging as envelopes. Prepaid shipping also enables customers to return the packages back to their destination by posting via the nearest mailbox. Movo provides eCommerce companies with safe and secure circular shipping means while reducing their carbon footprint.
ERA zero waste makes Organic & Plastic-Free Boxes
ERA zero waste is a German startup that provides organic and plastic-free customized boxes for grocery shipping. It features flexible order scheduling for single or repeated orders and enables customers to return the packaging on the next delivery. The packaging ensures zero carbon emissions on deliveries. ERA zero waste also offers refillable containers, reusable shipping boxes, and compostable paper bags to enable sustainability in grocery shipping businesses.
Reusabowl provides Rice Husk-based Takeaway Bowls
Reusabowl is a New Zealand-based startup that creates reusable packaging for takeaways in workplaces and eateries. It uses rice husk to manufacture reusable bowls and cutlery that are durable, leakproof, and microwave safe. The startup thus helps eateries to eliminate single-use packaging wastage and reduce operational costs. Reusabowl also provides compostable packaging solutions with leakproof silicone lids to ensure reliability and sustainability.
futuREproof delivers Reusable Packaging as a Service
Belgian startup futuREproof offers package borrowing solutions for restaurants and end customers. Its mobile application makes package borrowing convenient for takeaways and delivery meals. The startup offers a range of Mepal Pro products, its premium food bowls for storing cold and hot meals suitable for both refrigerators and microwaves.
Circulr offers a Packaging Reuse Program
Circulr is a Canadian startup that works with grocery store brands for creating a reusable packaging platform to reduce the environmental impact. It enables customers to return the packaging and the companion app allows them to track the packages to receive deposits and rewards. The startup helps consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands to elevate their brand image through sustainable packaging. Moreover, Circulr helps local brands with package sourcing, collection, deposit management, and sanitation, replacing single-use plastic packaging.
Zero Impack ensures Circular Food Delivery
Italian startup Zero Impack develops a circular delivery platform to eliminate single-use waste from food deliveries, catering events, and takeaways. The platform tracks the positive results by using quantitative data in sustainability reports. It also organizes and manages zero-waste catering events for companies, universities, events, and businesses. The platform enables businesses to offer circular food deliveries in reusable containers and reduce carbon emissions.
Zuckerpak uses Bagasse for Packaging
US-based startup Zuckerpak manufactures sustainable packaging from bagasse, sugar cane waste residual fibers. The startup produces food packaging items like takeaway containers, plates, and bowls. It also substitutes wood to produce pulp, paper, and board which enables industries to switch to a greener alternative. Zuckerpak processes bagasse through an eco-friendly mechanical process that provides a bio-compostable product line for the packaging industry.
Al Tabeeah manufactures Durable Biodegradable Disposables
AL Tabeeah is a UAE-based startup that provides a range of durable biodegradable food packaging products for businesses. The startup’s green, leak-resistant tableware caters to hot and cold liquid. It also provides seed-embedded, all-natural paper plantable packaging that grows a plant in soil post disposal. This enables Al Tabeeah to cater to cafes, airlines, and the retail sector by reusing, planting, and recycling packaging materials.
Reusables develops a Zero-Waste Packaging Platform
Canadian startup Reusables provides a container-sharing zero-waste platform for the food and beverages industry. Its reusable stainless steel containers are for food handling in campuses, offices, and commercial buildings. The platform also enables companies to borrow food-grade, recycled steel reusables with sealable lids to reduce plastic usage and wastage. This allows businesses to attract conscious customers and save packaging costs to reduce their carbon footprint.
Discover All Emerging Packaging Startups
The packaging startups showcased in this report are only a small sample of all startups we identified through our data-driven startup scouting approach. Download our free Packaging Innovation Report for a broad overview of the industry or get in touch for quick & exhaustive research on the latest technologies & emerging solutions that will impact your company in 2024!