Tipa Corp. was proud and honoured to have been awarded the best environmental/CSR initiative award for its range of 100% compostable flexible packaging for fresh produce, TipLock zipper bags, stand up pouches, paper applications, and for coffee and snacks.
Finalists and winners for the awards were announced during a special event on Tuesday 1 March at Hotelympia in London’s ExCel exhibition centre. “We are constantly impressed with the scale and pace of innovation in the global food and beverage industry,” said FoodBev Media director Bill Bruce. “This year’s awards scheme once again features truly innovative and exciting products and initiatives which are not only on-trend but likely to set trends for the year ahead.”
Challenges on the road to sustainability
Building any packaging company from scratch is not for the faint of heart. Building a packaging company dedicated to developing biodegradable and compostable packaging takes the level of gumption required to a whole new level, but that is exactly the kind of company that Daphna Nissenbaum and Tal Neuman had in mind when together they founded Tipa in Israel in June 2010.
Daphna and Tal looked through the lens of a software engineer (Daphna) and an industrial designer (Tal) and 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 Daphna and Tal, and this philosophy continues to run like a green thread through Tipa to this day.
The flexible packaging challenge
Crisps, rice and coffee are only a few of the products to be found in flexible packaging, which can be made of paper, plastic film, foil or any combination of these.
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 a mission for sustainable innovation, 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, eg in terms of transparency, tensile strength and shelf life. It would also have to be fully compostable.
Tipa’s compostable flexible packaging breakthrough
It took countless hours of development time, but today Tipa has developed the first fully compostable flexible packaging 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 centres but, as an added value, they can also serve as a feedstock for producing energy (eg bio-gas facilities) or land fertiliser (compost facilities).
Tipa’s unique advantage over existing sustainable products lies in its high mechanical properties and optical advantages, while still preserving compostability.
According to Daphna, “our products have the same mechanical properties as most ordinary plastics, serving consumers and manufactures. Consumers enjoy the same level of packaging functionality. Manufacturers get bio-plastics that meet all their manufacturing requirements and that is adaptable to their current packaging and production practices.”
Daphna continued: “Tipa’s IP and knowhow encompass resin, multi-layer films structures, laminates and more, enabling the creation of optimal solutions for any specific application with any desired properties. Tipa’s patented technology and strong manufacturing know-how solve a variety of issues concerning the applicability of bio-plastics to flexible packaging.”
What began for Tipa 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 with sales in Europe as well as the United States – and now recognition for excellence and innovation from the World Food Innovation Awards.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019