TIPA Co-Founder and CEO, Daphna Nissenbaum at SPC Advance

TIPA at SPC Advance

TIPA participated in the recent SPC Advance conference in Portland, sponsoring what proved to be a very popular “standing room only” Compostable Packaging Track at the event.

During this track, TIPA Co-Founder and CEO, Daphna Nissenbaum, made a presentation on “Compostable as an Alternative to Flexible Packaging.” Below are some highlights from Daphna’s presentation.

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Huge market for flexible packaging

Daphna began her presentation by describing why TIPA focuses on flexible packaging, saying, “In TIPA, we focus on flexible packaging and on the flexible packaging challenge. We all know about this challenge. We’re all familiar with the different kinds of packaging – metal, plastic, PET bottles, glass, et cetera, et cetera – but did you know that in terms of units flexible packaging is the biggest packaging segment? It’s twice as big as PET bottles. Each one of us uses these packages every day. It’s a huge segment, and this is why we focus on flexible packaging.”

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The flexible packaging challenge

Daphna elaborated on the flexible packaging challenge, saying, “What is the challenge here? The challenge is that flexible packaging cannot be recycled. The majority of flexible packaging ends its life in a landfill. This is the reality. We can try to recycle. Some of it is recycled, but the majority of flexible packaging ends life in landfill. It stays there forever – forever meaning hundreds of years. It’s a huge market. It’s an industry of $91 billion with a growth of almost 4.5% each year. No doubt it’s a huge industry, an industry that grows fast with zero real ecological solutions. We are always saying each flexible packaging ends life in landfill and stays there forever, and forever means hundreds and hundreds of years. This is the reality. No wonder we are offering TIPA.”

“We offer a package that actually behaves or acts like an orange-peel, like organic waste,“ Daphna continued. “The consumer can eat or drink the content of the package, and the package ends life, and decomposes, the same way as organic waste, same way as an orange peel. This is the technology that we are developing at TIPA, and what I want to focus on today is what we have learned from the market in the last year and a half since launching this technology into the market.”

TIPA’s focus on composting

Daphna described the lack of infrastructure in the industry saying, “We all know there’s no industrial infrastructure. If you want to launch packages like this in the market, you have to take care of the infrastructure. What we did in TIPA is that we focused in on composting. Most of our packages are certified for home composting.”

“TIPA’s packages are now launched in the UK,” said Daphna. “We demonstrated our composting – home composting! Those are the pictures that you’re going to see now. TIPA packages decompose in home composting in a very fast way relative conventional plastic that takes hundreds of years. After twenty-four weeks almost nothing remains. It has become compost. Why? Because the package that you saw is 100% compostable. It breaks into compost, in the same way as organic waste.”

 

She continued, “We work with compostable facilities to approve our packages so that they are accepted by composting centers. We are of course also working with the SPC and other NGOs in order to push industrial composting infrastructure mainly in the US.”

Insert Snact composting slide

A platform for replacing conventional plastic

“In order to replace conventional plastic,” said Daphna, “We have to meet the demand or meet the properties that commercial plastic offers to the market. Otherwise we cannot replace those packages. The consumers are used to certain kind of properties as are the manufacturers. What we have developed in TIPA in the last six years is a platform of technology. The venture is based on IP. We have seven patents registered all over the world, seven patents that cover our technology.”

“Tipa started sales at the beginning of 2016, said Daphna. “It’s since grown rapidly. We’ve gained more and more customers with those applications in the fresh produce, food and snack categories.”

Future developments

Describing future development, Daphna said, “We continue working on new materials, on new developments, on new applications. The second generation and the third generation of technology will bring outstanding technology to the market, technology that can really change the packaging market.”

Demand is growing

“Pricing is an issue for compostable materials,” said Daphna. “It’s more expensive – and when your technology is more expensive, due to large scale, it’s even more expensive. So, what we see is that the demand grows from consumer segments other than food. We have more customers, more new customers every month. The demand grows.”

“It’s still more expensive, but the consumers, and the manufacturers understand that if we want to change reality, if we want to launch new technology, if we want to change the way we treat packages, if we want to bring new technology, everyone has to go an extra mile. The consumers are willing to pay more. not everyone, not all the consumers, but the consumers are willing to pay more, and we see it, not just the consumers, also the converters.”

“We gain requests, many from converters in Europe, Daphna continued. “Less in the US, but more and more from Europe, converters are seeking for new technology, seeking for new packaging solutions, and they also understand that the demand for sustainability is gaining more power than the demand for low pricing.”

Trends in regulation

Daphna described trends in regulation, saying, “Europe is maybe the most advanced. We see regulation, for example the new regulation in France, talking about fresh produce and that it’s mandatory that it has to be packed with compostable materials. We see also regulation in Italy and in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands there’s encouragement by reducing the tax for compostable materials.”

“In Australia and New Zealand we see increasing composting with industrial composting facilities, Daphna continued. “In the US what we see is that 7 out of the 10 largest cities in the US actually collect food waste and separate food waste and this is of course very crucial for composting.”

TIPA vision

Daphna concluded her presentation saying, “Waste is 30% household waste. The biggest problem is kitchen waste, is food waste. It’s here today, and it’s here to stay. We will always have food waste. Governments and municipalities have to take care of the kitchen waste. Once the kitchen waste is taken care of, you can implement composting through the same infrastructure, the same waste infrastructure.”

“This is our vision,” said Daphna. “Our vision is that flexible packaging will be treated the same way as organic waste, the same way as kitchen waste. We focus on flexible packaging because rigid packaging can be recycled. Flexible packaging cannot be recycled. This is the right recycling system for flexible packaging. This is it.”