Alex Garden, chairman and CEO of Camarillo, Calif.-based Zume, explains how companies can use waste pulp materials to replace plastic packaging for to-go foods and packaged goods. Molded fiber can be used instead of expanded polystyrene meat trays, to replace the plastic scoops included with baby formula, as coffee cup lids, and in six-pack holders, among many other forms of packaging. The company’s water and grease-resistant food packaging does not use PFAS, or “forever chemicals” that are harmful to human health and the environment.
The plastic versions of this packaging is a $390-billion industry that contributes to plastics’ 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions — 2.2 billion tons of CO2eq annually — according to a December 2021 study published in Nature Sustainability. The challenge is growing production capacity, and Zume is making rapid progress after being founded in 2015. Zume recently announced a partnership with Transcend Packaging, a UK-based sustainable packaging maker to expand in Europe with new production capacity coming online in 2023. It already has manufacturing locations in the United States and India. You can learn more about Zume at zume.com