Overview: News Start-ups & innovators

Sway Co-founders at a seaweed farm

Image: Alex Krowiak

Seaweed-based packaging gaining traction as a plastic alternative


Notpla Ltd. has landed a big contract with a UK sports-venue operator, while California startup Sway has launched a new seaweed-based biopolymer and secured major new funding. Both have won awards and are helping to commercialize seaweed-based packaging.
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Sorting belt with packaging waste inside a sorting plant

Image: Julia Paul

Artificial intelligence improves recycling


A green Europe is unthinkable without a working circular economy. For this to happen, waste sorting and recycling processes need to improve in order to obtain more recyclates for reuse. Artificial intelligence (AI) is already being used in sorting and recycling today, but new AI developments are currently revolutionising the industry.
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Three women hold picture frames in their hands

Image: Pro Carton

Urgent need for young talent


There is an urgent need for young, skilled workers everywhere, and the packaging industry is no exception. Next-generation workers often pursue unconventional approaches with bold new ideas, regardless of whether they have studied packaging technology or design at European universities or completed an industry apprenticeship.
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Foam from waste cardboard

Image: Beijing Key Laboratory of Wood Science and Engineering

Researchers tout sustainable packaging foam made from waste cardboard


Researchers in Beijing have developed an environmentally friendly cushioning and insulating foam made entirely from recycled cardboard that they say offers a sustainable, plastic-free packaging alternative to the shipping industry.
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FreeWater offers these 474 ml aluminum bottles as one option

Image: FreeWater



A Texas startup aims to disrupt the food and beverage industry by turning the marketing of such products on its head. Austin-based FreeWater sells advertising on paper cartons and aluminum bottles of drinking water and then gives away those containers for free, while donation a portion of its proceeds to charity.
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Takeaway drink with paper lid

Image: The Paper Lid Company

Paper lids for less single-use plastic


When the time comes for a hot or cold drink while out and about, many people opt for takeaway beverages in disposable cups. These often come with a plastic lid, resulting in a significant volume of waste. One Finnish start-up is instead using recyclable paperboard lids and has entered into a partnership with Walki.
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