Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Cellugy

A sugar-coated solution for plastic-free packaging


This sugar-based coating replaces plastic so products can be more easily composted or recycled

Spotted: Polyethylene is commonly used in packaging to coat paper, cardboard, and other bio-based materials to make them more water-resistant. However, using polyethylene in this way makes bio-based packaging more difficult to recycle or compost. Danish startup Cellugy has developed a biomaterial that can sustainably replace fossil-based plastic in the packaging industry.

The innovative material, called EcoFLEXY, is created from plant-based sucrose using fermentation in a ‘white biotechnology process’ where bacteria convert sugar into nanocellulose. Unlike the production of other packaging materials, EcoFLEXY doesn’t involve cutting down trees or using harsh chemicals. The final EcoFLEXY coating is resistant to water, oxygen, and grease and because it is a bio-based material, EcoFLEXY is also biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable.

In addition to coating packaging materials, EcoFLEXY is ideal for thickening personal care products, helping cosmetics companies create green products. EcoFLEXY also has a much higher viscosity per dry weight, which makes it particularly useful in products like sunscreens.

Cellugy recently completed a €4.9 million seed funding round led by ICIG Ventures and Unconventional Ventures. The money will be used to expand manufacturing capacity so the company can commercialise EcoFLEXY and meet consumer demand faster.

Other innovations aimed at making packaging more sustainable include reusable bottle caps to replace plastic drinks lids and the use of crop waste and mycelium to make compostable packaging.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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