In today’s interview we get to know the startup Pack2Earth. We interview its Cofounder and CEO, Françoise de Valera.
What problem does your start-up address and what solution does it propose?
Pack2Earth’s circular economy materials respond to two problems well known to everyone. On the one hand, environmental pollution due to plastic of fossil origin that is recycled in a low and insufficient percentage, and on the other hand, the harmful effects on health caused by some components used in plastic of fossil origin, such as bisphenol or phalates, as well as the microplastics they generate.
To help solve these problems, we have developed two materials; a flexible film and an injection material, which are biobased and compostable at room temperature, with which packaging can be manufactured for products from dry to semi-liquid with a long useful life, such as bags, doypacks, sachets, tubs, lids, etc. from other types of other items to completely liquid products, such as glasses.
Pack2Earth materials compost at room temperature without leaving any toxic residue and can be disposed of in the brown organic waste bin along with food scraps, or composted at home if desired. If disposed of improperly, they will also compost within a short period of time. Our materials, under European legislation, are considered recyclable (through organic recycling), so they help our customers meet their recyclability goals.
How and why did you start this entrepreneurial adventure?
We began the venture because we were looking for a material to package sports nutrition gels that would compost at room temperature, to combat the problem of empty containers of sports nutrition products that end up being thrown away in the fields and at sporting events. While we would always strongly advise against disposing of them in this way, we wanted them to at least, if that happened, be composted in the short term, but we did not find any on the market that met the characteristics that our materials now offer: biobased, compostable at room temperature, which could contain semi-liquids and offered a long useful life. So we decided to develop it ourselves and later we realized that there was a whole market looking for materials with those characteristics.
My advice to future entrepreneurs is that, if they believe in their idea, be very persevering and do not give up in their efforts, be resilient because it is not an easy path, although the truth is that it is very enriching and exciting to see how they overcome obstacles and achieving milestones.
How do you expect the sector to evolve? And what expectations do you have for your start-up?
We hope that the use of fossil-based plastics will decrease, as established by legislation and, in fact, as an increasing number of users demand. Most brands have set objectives to reduce plastic in general and of fossil origin, as well as to increase the recyclability of the materials they use and we hope that they choose bio-based, compostable at room temperature and recyclable materials for their packaging and articles, like ours.
In fact, we have set ourselves the goal of replacing 60,000 tons of fossil-based plastic with our Pack2Earth materials by 2028.
Any new developments in the near future that you would like to share with the rest of the start-ups?
In the near future, we think that it will be important to work increasingly with national or EU raw materials, so that Europe can achieve more independence from other powers in the manufacturing of essential items such as packaging.
We also think that the incorporation of waste in the formulations of advanced materials will be increasingly valued. For this reason, we have a two-year Tecniospring project underway, of which we are in the second year, to extract our own biopolymers and other components from Mediterranean organic waste, both agricultural and industrial, to incorporate them into our formulations.
Last but not most important, we foresee more and more collaborations between laboratories and artificial intelligence companies to expedite the development of new formulations in record time.
In what areas would you like to collaborate with other start-ups, companies or other organisations?
We are always open to new ideas and to collaborate, as it enriches. Specifically, we are now interested in carrying out concept tests with companies, whether food or non-food, using our materials to package their products and/or using our materials to incorporate them as one of the components in existing packaging solutions.
For those projects that require more R&D, we offer corporates an exclusive in their sector in exchange for helping us finance the cost of the projects.
We are also interested in expanding our laboratory space in the Barcelona area, either collaboratively with another startup or within the existing facilities of an established organisation.