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CONSUMER PRODUCTS & SERVICES | Household / Housewares
ecotensil.com

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Stage

Series A | Alive

Total Raised

$600K

Valuation

$0000 

Last Raised

$600K | 9 yrs ago

About EcoTensil

EcoTensil manufactures eco-friendly paperboard utensils. The company's products are biodegradable and recyclable, made from sustainable materal, and use less material than other plastic and biodegradeable utensils.

EcoTensil Headquarter Location

29 First STreet Suite 100

Corte Madera, California, 94925,

United States

415-924-0233

Latest EcoTensil News

Material choice | Special report – sustainability

Jul 16, 2021

Material choice | Special report – sustainability Philip Chadwick looks at how packaging manufacturers are approaching the issue of materials. From plastic to paper, the options are complex and open to debate. This article is sponsored by Spectra Packaging. Aluminium and plastic among the materials sourced by Vetroplas It doesn’t take a lot to spark debate in the packaging industry and sustainable material choice is one subject that can keep a roomful of experts arguing long into the night. The phrase ‘sustainable packaging’ on its own can, understandably, create discussion; the argument goes that if the pack does its job to protect the product, then surely that in itself is sustainable? And doesn’t that make all effective packaging sustainable, irrespective of material? For many it appears not and the forces that drive the debate come from outside industry thinking. Law makers, NGOs and consumers have all had their say on what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’. While many of those arguments have looked at plastic, citizens have also focused on carbon emissions and how packaging plays its part in tackling climate change. In this environment, you might be forgiven for thinking that packaging manufacturers have had it tough, being pulled from pillar to post on what packaging is deemed acceptable. And while the market has presented challenges, many see opportunity; the chance to innovate, show creativity and come up with packaging that ticks environmental boxes. It hasn’t stopped the debate as to what some think is sustainably ‘correct’ but manufacturers are enjoying the opportunity to put their thinking caps on. That’s despite government legislation shaping the future. Consumer awareness “Clearly legislation and public/media awareness are driving factors,” explains Simon Dix, managing director at Vetroplas. “Messages can become confused as the general issue is one with a huge scope. For instance, there is certainly a place for the use of plastics in many sectors, which is not to say that management of its use and disposal is not also critical.” “Concerns around packaging materials often start with consumers, who have had their eyes opened to the cumulative impact of plastic waste in the environment, and to their own responsibility,” says Peggy Cross, founder and chief executive of EcoTensil. “Brands want to do right by their customers, but there are challenges, particularly regarding costs, which might make their brand less competitive. Some governments around the world have stepped in and levelled the playing field for companies, so everyone is playing by the same rules, and this is positive.” Brian Lodge, design manager at Berry Global, adds: “There is pressure from brands, retailers and consumers to choose specific materials but minimal push from legislation. The UK Plastic Packaging Tax, planned to come into effect in April 2022, is partisan to a particular pack type. There is a lot of opportunity for education around the benefits of the plastic substrate in a circular economy. This is why in every customer interaction, and even in our local communities, we try to bring our expertise and material know-how to the table to help shape solutions toward a net zero economy.” The plastic tax is one industry driver from government. The other is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which aims to make packaging producers pay the full cost of packaging once it becomes waste. The government hopes that this will encourage more recyclable materials and nudge the sector into embracing a circular economy. But is this approach restrictive? “I don’t think of packaging design as having become more restrictive, rather it has opened us up to invigorating exploration of solutions that reduce our dependency on plastic,” explains EcoTensil’s Cross. “Yes, there are challenges, and many of the familiar old ways we did things have been turned upside down. But since the playing field is even for companies regarding reducing plastic, we’re all free to innovate and trailblaze new solutions to do better, and to do good. I see it as a very positive and exciting challenge.” “One of the first things I learned when I started out as a designer was that any restriction presents an opportunity,” adds Berry Global’s Lodge. “Yes of course to make packaging circular there are materials, elements of design and combinations of items that are not ideal. However, we can use these limitations to create products with stories that resonate with consumers as long as the packaging performs its primary functions.” Good design Tri Star managing director Alex Noake explains: “Good design is about understanding our customer requirements through the whole product journey. Design for manufacture involves moral and ethical responsibilities and a sustainable approach to food packaging is a great example of where good design can be used for positive change. Industry investment and manufacturing innovations have driven designers to be more creative and strive to create better solutions, while using materials in a responsible way.” For Andrew Grimbaldeston, commercial director at Colpac, this period of change represents opportunity for the packaging industry. “There are opportunities and challenges but that’s where progress comes through,” he says. “It’s an exciting time as all bets are off. All brands have to think about packaging, from the filling of a product to how a consumer gets it. That also includes what happens at the point of disposal.” And it is this area that focuses many minds, certainly when it comes to new materials coming onto the market. It’s why lifecycle analysis (LCA) has become a key element for specifiers when weighing up options. And while important, Berry Global’s Lodge urges some caution. “LCAs have become a new mantra to the industry,” he says. “From being an obscure academic tool as little as five years ago, now every customer wants an analysis on his or her products as a matter of course. This has become an important tool for our sustainability team and can give us and our customers valuable information. There are a variety of LCA tools on the market today, but we would not use the results of an analysis unless it had been peer reviewed to ensure its accuracy.” “Much of the innovation for carbon and waste reduction has taken place with the smaller agile, and truly innovative companies,” adds EcoTensil’s Cross. “While analysis plays an important role, it can be cost prohibitive for these solution incubators, and can inadvertently sideline important contributions.” On new materials, Lodge adds: “Naturally, new materials can create opportunities. If they bring new properties or possibilities, we can maximise those benefits. In choosing a new material, we need to understand the life cycle analysis in detail. Bioplastics, for example, reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and reduce C02 emissions during manufacture, but whereas bio-based polymers can be recycled with oil-based plastics, biodegradable materials can contaminate plastic recycling schemes. Effective consumer education and communication are therefore required to ensure packs are disposed of appropriately. “Some exciting new materials like graphene may be capable of delivering fantastic properties – in this case barrier to prevent food spoilage – and these can present us with new possibilities for the future. And as long as the environmental impact is lower than current choices, then the new materials are a welcome addition.” Dix adds: “From our own experience, not only exclusively new materials, but existing materials adapted and used for new sectors, is a feature of current projects. We are seeing interest across markets we had not previously encountered, for example aluminium bottles for drinks, mouthwash, etc. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable and therefore a sustainable solution offering a premium aesthetic.” Industry arguments But for all the industry’s best intentions, arguments over what is truly sustainable will continue to rage. Greenwash is a word that’s increasingly being used against a wide range of claims and counter claims. It makes it hard for consumers to entirely understand what’s good and isn’t. Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) sought to tackle the problem launching a draft guidance document. It’s target: businesses making environmental claims. But for Colpac’s Grimbaldeston, the packaging industry needs to “avoid going down back allies” when debating the pros and cons of various materials. He cites compostables as one example. He warns: “I do not think compostable products are promoting litter and those who think they do are taking a defensive industry perspective. There are circumstances where compostable items are right, for example where food contamination affects the packaging. “I see so many LinkedIn posts around packaging materials and it does make me worry. We need to move away from the playground-type arguments that dominate social media. “The plastics industry makes claims that there are no problems with their material and there are instances where that is the case. But there are others where their data holds no water. As an industry, we are serving to confuse. I hope we get more rigour to help consumers and brand owners to make informed decisions, and create the best environmental outcomes not just for packaging. “As an industry, we have got to stop being judgemental. Packaging is in danger of becoming obsolete because it did not stand up for itself.” The waters around packaging materials are muddy and the efforts of the CMA might make things a little easier. But Grimbaldeston’s concerns highlight how fragmented the industry is, making it difficult for so many to make a call on what material will work. But while confusion reigns in some quarters, packaging manufacturers seem keen to step up to the sustainable challenges ahead. SPONSOR’S COMMENT Since our formation in 2008, environmental sustainability has been a key driver across all facets of our business. As a responsible manufacturer, it’s our mission to take responsibility away from consumers and brand owners by exercising a firm lead. We’ve done this by actively pioneering new ways to minimise the environmental impact of our packaging alongside initiatives aimed at helping our customers make the most appropriate choices. In 2018 we launched our mandatory environmental initiative called PCR10, which aimed to encourage customers to take advantage of the benefits of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content, with a standard inclusion rate of 10% in all our containers. Subsequently, we’ve seen a significant uptake in PCR with customers using varying levels, in many instances up to 100%. Proactively, the rollout of our new PCR30 initiative will encourage customers further and satisfy the government’s future regulatory requirement of 30% recycled content. We should never underestimate the countless societal benefits that plastics offer, particularly evident during the pandemic. However, we firmly believe that a responsible approach to reusing plastic waste when possible remains the key to a real circular economy. Jonathan Powell is sales director at Spectra Packaging 2021-07-16

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EcoTensil Patents

EcoTensil has filed 12 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Bartending equipment
  • Cooking utensils
  • Kitchenware
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5/6/2014

2/6/2018

Cooking utensils, Spoons, Kitchenware, Food storage containers, Bartending equipment

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Cooking utensils, Spoons, Kitchenware, Food storage containers, Bartending equipment

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