This startup wants to make packaging that’s all bark, no bite

Takeout containers could be the answer to pressing environmental waste issues.

Don’t get us wrong, we love takeout.

A variety of cardboard food-packaging products on a multicolored background.

But once we learned that recycling isn’t the foolproof solution we thought it was, our delivery orders started showing up with something we didn’t order: guilt.

Don’t cry over spilled lo mein just yet — Bpacks, a sustainable packaging startup, is getting closer to an environmentally friendly solution.

Bpacks has created what it says is the world’s first biodegradable bioplastic made from tree bark to replace petroleum-based rigid plastic containers, per AgFunderNews.

Those types of plastics, traditionally used to hold produce, meat, and beauty products, are wreaking havoc on the environment:

  • The world produces ~440m tons of plastic waste each year, and global plastic production is estimated to reach 1.2B+ tons by 2050.
  • Of that plastic, ~36% is used for packaging. And 85% of single-use plastics for food and beverage packages end up in landfills.

Plus, tree bark from timber production normally goes to waste. An estimated 300m-400m cubic meters is produced annually.

Bpacks takes that leftover bark and combines it with other bio-based materials, like coffee grounds, to create pellets and sheets that can be used to make packages.

The result: 100% bio-based packaging, with 75% of materials coming from production waste. It’s also “100% home-compostable,” able to fully decompose in soil within one or two months — but it can still hold high-moisture content without dissolving.

The whole package

Though Bpacks has its material down, the company, which is still in a pre-seed funding stage, will face a long road ahead to scale its business.

Fortunately, it isn’t the only company trying to solve the plastic-packaging pollution problem (say that 3x fast).

  • Ecoroots makes packaging from mushroom mycelium.
  • Traceless uses leftovers from agricultural and food production processes to create a plastic alternative.
  • Notpla manufactures fully compostable packaging with a coating made from 100% natural seaweed.

The work of these startups, and many more, is fueling the global bioplastics market, which is estimated to reach $46.1B by 2030.

Very good news for the environment and for our Uber Eats orders. Hallelujah.

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