Innovation That Matters

| Photo source © Julia Pomodoro via Canva

Replacing packaging items with sustainable alternatives


The service supplies a range of more sustainable packaging solutions tailored to a business needs 

Spotted: Despite concerted efforts by individuals and organisations worldwide, nearly 80 per cent of plastic that’s thrown away either goes to landfill or ends up in the environment. Reducing and then eliminating the use of virgin plastics is an important step that the packaging industry needs to take as quickly as possible. Helping scale commercial transitions from non-recyclable, virgin plastics to compostable alternatives is US-based Cirkla.  

The company provides an end-to-end solution that bridges the gap between a business’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals and new products made with new materials. Cirkla assesses an organisation’s portfolio of packaging to identify supply chain opportunities and creates a plan to transition away from petroleum-based plastics. As part of the review of a company’s consumer packaged goods ranges, Cirkla provides life cycle assessments for every type of packaging. The full data set allows businesses to accurately track improvements in their carbon footprint. 

In order to replace virgin plastics, a company has to develop, prototype, and test alternatives. Cirkla takes care of that with the help of its extensive network of manufacturing partners throughout Asia. Contract manufacturers in countries that include India, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and China produce custom packaging solutions within days. Reducing the development time from months to days means that a business can more quickly assess customer feedback and tweak designs and materials as needed.  

Materials that Cirkla works with include 100 per cent recyclable and home-compostable moulded fibre that is a direct replacement for rigid plastic; recycled plastics; food-grade compostable films; and 100 per cent recyclable paperboard. The moulded fibre is made from plants and plant waste including bamboo, sugarcane, and wood pulp. The film and paperboard are printable, act just like the plastic products they replace and are available in bespoke sizes and shapes.  

Cirkla recently raised $3 million (around €2.8 million), which the company plans to use to expand its operational capacity and continue its research and development (R&D).  

Single-use plastics are such a scourge that in the archive, Springwise has spotted a number of innovations seeking to end the waste by using bio-based versions instead. Examples include packaging that biodegrades on its own, without requiring composting or recycling facilities, and a polystyrene foam replacement made from agri-waste.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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