How TIPA Came To Be
When Daphna Nissenbaum met Tal Neuman and they together founded TIPA in Israel in June 2010, where others saw the difficulties of waste management and particularly end of life solutions around flexible packaging, they looked through the lens of a software engineer (Daphna) and an industrial designer (Tal) thought, “Imagine…if you could treat flexible food packaging like an orange peel… Like organic waste, a natural resource…” Sustainability and the kind of world that their children would live in one day was hugely important to them, and this philosophy continues to run like a green thread through TIPA to this day.
When Daphna and Tal started working together it was to design biodegradable water bags. Because there were no materials that had the biodegradability that they had in mind, they hired bio plastic experts to find the appropriate materials for the beverage bags. After six months the plastic experts came back to them and said that there were no biodegradable materials on the market that were suitable for the bags. They suggested that Daphna and Tal, “Come back in few years and make the same inquiry.”
According to Daphna, “We thought to ourselves: well, humanity landed on the moon, so how difficult can it be to make this bio-degradable bag? We had no idea then, how difficult this could be.”
Daphna and Tal were about to find out!
Flexible packaging has become ubiquitous on supermarket shelves. It is almost easier to describe what is not packaged in some kind of flexible packaging than to describe what is. From a sustainability perspective, the major strength of flexible packaging – that it is hugely source reduced – is also its major weakness when it comes to recycling and end of life solutions, with the result that the majority ends up in landfill.
To TIPA the difficulty of recycling became an opportunity, because with the biodegradable flexible packaging Daphna and Tal had in mind, the idea was that the packaging could be composted at end of its life, preferably along with food waste.
If the TIPA biodegradable flexible packaging was to succeed, it would have to have all the qualities of traditional plastics, e.g. in terms of transparency, tensile strength and shelf life. It would also have to be fully compostable.
The task of developing a compostable package from scratch is not trivial. For TIPA it was complicated and full of difficulties, not least of which were regulatory, the lack of existing technology, as well as logistics and business development.
It took a countless hours of development time, but today TIPA has developed the first fully compostable eco-friendly barrier films and laminates with the necessary moisture and oxygen barrier properties to meet the required shelf life standards for a wide range of foods.
This breakthrough innovation allows for the first time a full replacement of currently non–recyclable flexible packaging with organically recyclable/compostable packaging. Not only can TIPA’s packages be diverted from landfills and incineration centers but, as an added value, they can also serve as a feedstock for producing energy (e.g. bio-gas facilities) or land fertilizer (compost facilities).
TIPA’s unique advantage over existing products is its high barrier films which have high mechanical properties and optical values, while preserving compostability.
What began five and a half years ago as a dream to treat flexible food packaging like an orange peel, has grown into the reality of a company, has a large R&D team, a bio-plastic manufacturing team and sales and marketing teams – with a subsidiary sales office based in the US.
Several of TIPA’s products are already on the market in the EU as well as the US. Customers can now choose their compostable packaging, whether it’s for fresh produce, TipLock zipper bags, stand up pouches, paper applications or for coffee and snacks!