In an era where environmental concerns loom large, the packaging industry is at a crossroads, facing increasing scrutiny over its role in plastic pollution.

As the world grapples with the consequences of plastic waste, companies like TIPA Compostable Packaging have emerged as champions of change. Their mission is clear: to provide sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastics and transform the packaging landscape.

Mission and vision for sustainable packaging

Nissenbaum, the entrepreneurial leader of TIPA Compostable Packaging, sheds light on the company’s mission and vision for revolutionising the packaging industry:

“Over 10 years ago, TIPA was established to address the challenge that flexible plastic packaging poses to the environment. The mission was to create packaging without toxic residue, microplastics, or other pollutants.”

TIPA’s vision goes beyond mere sustainability; it aims to redefine packaging’s end-of-life cycle, as Nissenbaum explains, “Our mission is to change the way in which we think, consume, and dispose of packaging. No longer should packaging be seen as a linear product that burdens the environment after use.

“Instead, we should focus on packaging as a circular product, turning into soil once it has finished its use, nourishing the Earth and halting the burden of plastic pollution.”

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Collaboration for progress

One of the key players in driving the adoption of compostable packaging materials is the Compostable Coalition UK, which includes major retailers like Tesco, M&S, and Ocado.

Nissenbaum emphasises the importance of industry collaboration: “Collaboration is central to achieving progress for compostable packaging. Currently, there is a lack of education on compostable packaging. We see that the public is educated on recycling, but not necessarily on the other sustainable methods of reducing and disposing of plastic waste.”

She points out the grim reality of traditional recycling rates, saying, “In 2019, the UK’s flexible plastics recycling rate was just 6 percent and only rose to 8 percent in 2021.

“Currently, the world is producing 141 million tonnes of plastic packaging a year, and a third is estimated to leak from collection systems, polluting the environment.”

Nissenbaum highlights how the Compostable Coalition UK is working toward change: “The ‘Closing the Loop’ campaign secured £1.2 million in funding from the UK Research Institute last year, which examines the role of compostable packaging in transitioning away from the current reliance on single-use plastics.

“Bringing together industry leaders, retailers, policy makers, and leaders in the compostable market, this research will show the UK government that compostables are a key element in ending the country’s unsustainable consumption of plastic.”

Environmental advantages of compostable materials

Compostable packaging is often touted as a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics. Nissenbaum explains the environmental advantages: “Our compostable films and laminates emulate the properties and functionality of conventional plastic materials without leaving harmful plastic residues at the end of their use.”

TIPA’s commitment to sustainability extends to the entire lifecycle of their products, as Nissenbaum elaborates, “Once end consumers are finished with their packaging, they can safely dispose of this in a home or industrial composter, and within a few months, the packaging has returned completely to the earth.”

Addressing the infrastructure challenge

However, one challenge in promoting compostable packaging is the lack of infrastructure for composting in many regions.

Nissenbaum discusses how TIPA is addressing this issue: “Here at TIPA, we advocate for increased composting facilities in all our global markets. In the UK, we are a member of the Compostable Coalition UK, which promotes infrastructure for alternative waste management.”

She calls on the packaging industry to adapt and collaborate: “The packaging industry is already seeing diverse innovations when it comes to sustainable packaging. We welcome other industry leaders to join these initiatives to ensure all packaging can be safely disposed of and has a welcome place in waste management systems.”

Success stories and the path ahead

TIPA supplies packaging to food and fashion retailers worldwide, making a tangible impact on sustainability goals. Nissenbaum shares a success story:

“We began working with fashion brand Gabriela Hearst in 2017, supplying compostable packaging for home delivery, and by April 2019, Gabriela Hearst achieved their goal to be plastic-free with the use of compostable TIPA packaging for all front and back-of-house use.”

Looking ahead, Nissenbaum envisions a brighter future for compostable packaging: “With partnerships such as the Compostable Coalition UK and similar global collaborations, I am confident that compostable packaging will become a norm in the UK and beyond.

“Our cities and countries must be greener to help improve biodiversity, and by invoking waste management practices centred around compostables, we can give back to the environment and ensure the Earth is protected for generations to come.”

TIPA Compostable Packaging, under the visionary leadership of Daphna Nissenbaum, is pioneering a sustainable revolution in the packaging industry.

Their innovative approach to compostable materials offers hope for a future where packaging no longer burdens the planet but nourishes it, turning waste into a valuable resource.