Innovation That Matters

The containers can also be put in the freezer | Photo source Alterpacks

Turning food waste into packaging


The containers are leakproof, reusable, and compostable

Spotted: The takeaway food delivery market is expected to continue its steady growth following the explosion of interest during the pandemic. The growth in recycling facilities, however, is not keeping pace, which is bad news for the environment. Countries across the globe are producing millions of metric tonnes of single-use plastic waste each year. 

Even the cardboard and paper containers that are becoming more common are not truly sustainable. Most contain a plastic coating to prevent leaks, something that Singapore-based startup Alterpacks wanted to change. After analysing the most common types of agricultural and food waste around the world, the company chose spent grain for its new line of compostable food containers.     

Malt and barley grain waste created by the beer brewing process provide the majority of Alterpacks’ raw material. And rather than relying on a coating, the creators of Alterpacks chose to make the whole container leakproof, microwaveable, washable, and home-compostable.  

Currently, the packaging is available as stackable containers with a cover, a bento box, and a set of cutlery. Having recently raised $1 million (around €922,000) in pre-seed funding, the company plans to begin commercial production and distribution of the packaging throughout Asia, Australia, and Europe.  

Alterpacks was founded by Karen Cheah. After 20 succesful years working for entertainment companies, Cheah embarked on a change of career, founding the startup after completing a Master’s at Singapore Management University.

Reusable food and drink container options have proliferated in recent years, providing consumers with feel-good ways to enjoy the ease of takeaway and on-the-go coffees without the environmental footprint. Two recent examples Springwise has spotted are reusable takeaway containers for restaurants, and a vegetable oil-based reusable coffee cup.  

Written By: Keely Khoury




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