7 companies leading the regenerative material revolution

7 companies leading the regenerative material revolution

1. Papers Upcycled: Giving a second life to discarded paper?

Papers Upcycled is a paper upcycling brand headquartered in Germany. The idea of Papers Upcycled surfaced in 2019. They are committed to minimizing the resources used in upcycling paper for new use. The founders of the brand have more than 20 years of experience in the paper, packaging, and retail marketing business.

Turning discarded paper into wealth

The company aims to bring circularity to the paper packaging industry by creating new packaging resources from discarded paper. Their innovative upcycling approach significantly reduces the heavy water consumption, carbon dioxide output, and energy use that recycled paper takes.

Papers Upcycled’s technology works with any item made of virgin or recycled cardboard. The company has a wide reach, helping brands across Europe and the United States rethink sustainable paper designs for their products. Papers Upcycled’s technology works best with virgin and recycled cardboard, limiting its raw material pool.

Carry bag made with upcycled paper (Source: Papers Upcycled)Carry bag made with upcycled paper (Source: Papers Upcycled)

2. Vyld: Ocean can save period?

Founded in 2021 in Berlin, Vyld is the brainchild of founders Ines Schiller and Melanie Schichan. Deeply passionate about marine conservation, Schiller and Schichan recognised the power of seaweed as a no-input biomaterial and set out to create a product that would reduce non-biodegradable menstrual waste entering the ocean.

Promoting menstrual health with seaweed

Despite affecting roughly half of the world’s population, sustainable menstrual health products are few and far between. Seaweed fibre, from which Vyld’s tampons are made, is known to be absorbent, anti-inflammatory, and hypoallergenic (i.e. they hardly trigger any allergies), making it highly suitable for this specific use. While right now they make only tampons, they plan to expand their product line to include panty liners, pads, and other absorbent products in the future!

3. Radiant Matter: Bringing structural colour to textile sustainably?

Founded by Elissa Brunato, Radiant Matter is an innovative biomaterial startup looking to curb the microplastic problem traditionally associated with the textile industry.

Sequins are tiny, reflective, plastic ornaments used widely in the textiles industry. Given how small they are, they are often overlooked in the unsustainability of certain textiles and clothes. However, given their petrochemical origin and their ability to leak microplastics when not disposed of properly, they can be quite a detrimental ornament.

Bio-based textile sparkle

Radiant Matter is making the world's first BioSequin from renewable cellulose. With this innovative material, fashion brands can get their hands on sustainable, biodegradable sequins without compromising on style or harming the environment. Brands like BEEN London and Patrick McDowell have already worked with Radiant Matter to incorporate the sequins into their designs. The company also promises their bio-sequins are non-toxic, colourfast and pigment-free.

Bio-sequins developed by Radiant Matter(Source: Radiant Matter)Bio-sequins developed by Radiant Matter(Source: Radiant Matter)

4. Human Material Loop: Humans as sustainable materials?

Human Material Loop is a Dutch company that is developing textiles from human hair. The company was founded by Zsofia Kollar and Leonardo Avezzano, who believe that human hair is a valuable resource that can be used to create sustainable and high-performance textiles. The focus is on reducing waste in the hair industry and promoting circularity. 2.2 billion kg of keratin fibre goes unused globally from hair salons, and their aim is to upcycle this truly regenerative biowaste into an uncommon yet innovative textile fabric.

Human hair meets textile innovation

Keratin, the same protein that makes up fingernails and hair, is fairly abundant in nature, but Human Material Loop has found a way to procure it fairly and without any cruelty. Human Material Loop taps into the properties of this protein by transforming discarded human hair into a diverse range of sustainable textiles and materials, creating a closed-loop recycling system. To do this, the company collects wasted human hair from salons that would have ended up in landfills or incinerators.

5. Woola: Kicking out plastic bubble wraps with wool?

Woola is a brand that uses waste wool to make plastic bubble wraps. Together with Jevgeni Širai and Katrin Kabun, Anna-Liisa Palatu founded Woola in 2019. Woola launched in Estonia initially, with plans to expand to the U.K., France, and Germany. The brand is a recipient of the LVMH Innovation Award in the sustainability category. It hopes to cut half of global fossil fuel-based bubble wrap usage by 2030.

Surplus wool for sustainable packaging

The elasticity, resistance to extreme temperature, and water repellency make wool a perfect material for packing items that need extra cushioning. And considering the fact that there are thousands of tonnes of wool left unused annually in Europe, Woola mops up the excess to manufacture a replacement for plastic bubble wraps. Woola also has a returns system to keep materials in the loop for recycling.

Woola’s wool-based bubble wrap (Source: Woola)Woola’s wool-based bubble wrap (Source: Woola)

6. Outlander Materials: Using waste without creating waste?

Inspired by Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Lori Goff founded Outlander Materials to save the world from pollution. Their unique idea is to tackle waste by using it to create new compostable materials. Their guiding philosophy is ‘waste as input, but not as output’.

Beer waste to sustainable packaging

Outlander Materials aims to eradicate single-use plastic through a more viable and less-harmful alternative they call UnPlastic. UnPlastic is made from a combination of beer waste and other food industry streams and by-products. These materials are compostable and non-plastic. They are also strong, odour-free, lightweight, and water-resistant.

Outlander Materials’ UnPlastic (Source: Outlander Materials)Outlander Materials’ UnPlastic (Source: Outlander Materials)

7. Invisible Company: Packaging that disappears without a trace?

Founded by Devana Ng and Flavien Chaussegros, Invisible Company launched in 2020 and has witnessed tremendous growth in Hong Kong and beyond. Invisible Company develops and sells sustainable packaging made from water-soluble materials. The founders have developed various packaging solutions that efficiently replace plastic and are anaerobic biodegradable, showing more than 85% biodegradation in 90 days under landfill conditions.

Versatile and nature-friendly packaging

Invisible Company’s range of sustainable packaging options is extensive. From garment bags to mailer bags, even down to dog poop bags, the company has it all. These bags dissolve in hot water at 80℃ and are anaerobically biodegradable. They are also resistant to oil and grease, and their anti-static properties make them suitable for wrapping electric components. For brands looking for a bit of customization, Invisible Company offers custom-sized bags that bear your custom designs.

Invisible Company’s biodegradable dog poo bag (Source: Invisible Company)Invisible Company’s biodegradable dog poo bag (Source: Invisible Company)

💡Curious about similar innovative companies? Discover our selection of the best suppliers making things from complete waste here

Written by Dewansh M. on 26/08/2023

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