Bio-based material for single-use food containers

CBPAK Bio-based material for single-use food containers

Company information

  • Founded in 2002

  • HQ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • 35 employees

  • Patent pending since 2006

  • Capacity production of 400,000 pieces/batch (trays & cups)

  • CE100 member

A $50 million industry

Running a packaging company, founder of CBPak Claudio Bastos was well aware of the environmental impact associated with the existing $50 million/annum national food packaging industry, that comprises mainly single use and containers. 

This motivated him to find a material that could be returned to the earth in a regenerative way in order to eliminate the concept of waste in packaging.

After looking at conventional materials such as styrofoam, which have many problems associated with their use such as pollution in manufacturing and disposal, Bastos and his team began considering alternative, renewable sources and new business models for packaging.

Material breakthrough

CBPAK's research eventually led to a material based on the cassava plant (also known as yucca), a woody tuber widely cultivated in South America. The plant features heavily in Brazilian cuisine but it also has a non-edible starch component that can be used to make robust, but fully compostable packaging products. 

Packaging produced by CBPAK can serve various applications and suited to hot and cold temperatures as well as liquid and solid foodstuffs. The German chemical company BASF (also a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's CE100 network) has been involved in the development of the new packaging product. BASF produce the impermeable, non-toxic film, that is used to line the containers. 

Fully compostable packaging
Fully compostable packaging

Closing the nutrient loop

To ensure that the packaging is composted, rather than disposed in landfill, CBPAK established partnerships to align interests with local composting companies. The compost companies benefit from additional feedstock, in exchange for a commitment to collect the used products. Customers simply put the used containers in the box they were previously delivered in, which are then collected by the compost companies.

Beyond creating value from waste, CBPAK reduces the cost of negative externalities associated with traditional single-use, fossil-fuel derived packaging, while at the same time contributing to regenerating the soil and replenishing nutrients.

What next?

CBPAK plans to launch new products with more flexibility, such as packaging that includes an integrated lid for takeaway food. They are also looking into ways to reduce industrial costs by cutting down some intermediary process stages as well as substituting expensive raw materials used in the waterproof layer. 

Benefits

  • Soil regeneration: 1 million composted CBPAK cups regenerates 100 cubic metres of soil
  • Carbon impact: CBPAK cup 3.74g sequestered v. plastic cup 16.69g released
  • Water use: 12 times less water intensive than cardboard cups; 62 times less than plastic cups
  • The process valorises non-edible cassava thereby creating a brand new revenue stream 

Further material

Website: http://cbpak.com.br/

SC Oct 2017