Seaweed based biodegradable material designed "to make packaging disappear"
[Jan 4, 2022: Jane Englefield]
Notpla biodegradable plastic ketchup packets made from seaweed and plants that was designed to replace plastic. (CREDIT: Notpla)
Sustainable startup Notpla has created an edible, biodegradable packaging made from seaweed and plants that was designed to replace plastic.
Its name is a shortening of "not plastic," referring to the fact that while it looks plastic, the product is actually made from seaweed and plants.
Branding agency Superunion coined Notpla's name as well as a visual identity for the startup. This includes an animated logo that resembles a vessel filling up with water that is only visible when "filled" – as is the case with clear packaging.
"Notpla is a seaweed-based, sustainable packaging startup on a mission to make packaging as we know it disappear naturally," said Superunion senior creative director Mark Wood.
"Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in the oceans. The world’s behaviours need to change when it comes to single-use plastic," he explained.
According to Notpla's designers, the material is entirely biodegradable and edible and can be composted at home in four to six weeks.
So far, the packaging has been used to create thin films and coating for cardboard takeaway boxes, as well sachets for condiments.
Notpla says seaweed is a sustainable material from which to create packaging because the underwater plant does not need to compete with food crops for land, and also sequesters carbon dioxide – the process of removing it from the atmosphere.
Notpla biodegradable plastic ranch condiment packets made from seaweed. (CREDIT: Notpla)
The startup is also behind Ooho, which are sachets made from Notpla designed to be consumed by runners during sporting events.
In 2019, Ooho was trialled at the London Marathon where runners were offered the sachets, which were filled with Lucozade sports drink, while they ran.
The Notpla designers have also created smaller-scale versions of Ohoo that are intended to hold liquids such as toothpaste, coffee and suncream.
Ooho, which is made from Notpla, has been trialled at sporting events. (CREDIT: Notpla)
"The ultimate aim is to stop billions of single-use plastic packaging from ever being made by providing a positive alternative," Wood said. "We believe Notpla has the potential to turn the tide on plastic waste."
Notpla designers have also created smaller-scale versions of Ohoo that are intended to hold liquids such as orange juice to be used in sporting events to replace orange slices. (CREDIT: Notpla)
Formerly known as Skipping Rock Lab before Superunion rebranded it, Notpla was founded by Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Paslier in 2014 while the pair were studying Innovation Design Engineering.
For more science news stories check out our New Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.
Note: Materials provided above by Jane Englefield. Content may be edited for style and length.
Like these kind of feel good stories? Get the Brighter Side of News' newsletter.