Daphna Nissenbaum looked at the over-abundance of plastic coverings in the food industry — covering everything from tomatoes to lettuces, breads and pastries — and asked whether there were any way of making the process kinder on the environment. So-called ‘soft packaging’ is an industry worth $95bn a year, yet only 5% of the products are recyclable — the rest has either been burned, dropped in the ground or found its way out to sea.
So alongside colleague Tal Neuman, she set up a company, TIPA, to develop bio-alternatives to consumer items such as magazine wrappers and cereal bar packaging. The company starts from a simple proposition: fruit and veg like avocados and oranges manage to protect their juicy insides with a natural and compostable skin, so shouldn’t industrial processes be able to do the same?
TIPA’s breakthrough innovation is a new form of packaging, made from compostable polymers, which Nissenbaum says is every bit as transparent and impermeable as plastic packaging — yet capable of breaking down in six months and fertilising the soil.
“Compostable packaging is not just a chic trend, but a true ecological solution to some of the direst problems of our plastic consumer society,” Nissenbaum explained in an interview with the website Food Ingredients First.
“As long as we live in a consumer society, packaging will be absolutely essential. We will need though to develop packaging materials / formats and concepts in order to assure packaging has no negative effect on the environment,” she added.
One of Nissenbaum’s deeply-held beliefs is that any products that are created must fit into current logistic and manufacturing practices, to ensure that “dreams work in real life”. This is reflected in her life previous to founding TIPA: Nissenbaum studied Economics and Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University, then after a role as an account manager spent six-years as CEO of the Caesarea Center for Capital Markets and Risk Management at the IDC Herzliya, Israel’s first private university.Tags: biomaterials, bioplastics, Israel, plastic, plastic pollution, plastic waste