Challenge 1


Challenge 2


Challenge 3




There is a misguided anti-plastic sentiment. Eliminating plastic all together is not the sole solution for the climate crisis and would not necessarily deliver the best outcome. However, plastic production is set to increase by 40% by 2030, so we must find ways to increase our resource efficiency and minimize our waste.

In recent years, industries have rightly been focused on the problem of plastic pollution. However, this focus has meant that many companies are substituting to different materials to move away from plastic. Believing in the misconception that trees are a sustainable infinite resource for packaging, many companies are switching to paper-based (mixed) materials.

In the long run, a substitution like this could lead to worse environmental impacts. In most cases, you will need 4 times more (by weight) of an alternative packaging material to substitute the equal amount of plastic packaging. Ultimately affecting the amount of waste produced and the CO2 emitted.1 In the UK, it has been confirmed that substituting all current plastic packaging (1.6 million tonnes) on a 1:1 basis to alternative materials, could almost triple the carbon emissions from 1.7 billion tonnes CO2e to 4.8 billion tonnes CO2e.2

When talking food and beverage packaging in particular, plastic is as such, an inevitable material that reduces external impacts along the entire life cycle. The great and main issue is how we are just taking, making, and wastingour resources.

Moving away from plastic, especially for food packaging, can lead to worse environmental impacts.

Even though numerous countries have already implemented legal requirements to dispose and sort waste into fragments to prepare the post-consumer waste for recycling, we still haven’t found an effective way to use the recyclate. Consequently, waste is perceived as a cost rather than a valuable resource, leading the developed countries to make deals with Malaysia, India, and other LMICs to receive the waste in return for monetary compensation. The waste is shipped halfway around the world for the LMIC’s to deal with it, even though, they haven’t found an effective way to use the waste either. With no viable solution, the waste ends up being burned or dumped into landfills, rivers, and oceans, polluting our waters, and causing CO2 emissions to skyrocket.3 Due to this, more than 180 nations last year agreed to place strict limits on exports of plastic waste, evermore demanding a viable solution to use our plastic waste.

Waste will be considered a cost and not a valuable resource until we find a viable end market for it, it will keep ending up on our grounds and in our waters.

To confront the illegal waste trafficking industry, which is routinely letting the poorer nations absorb our low-valuable materials en masse, we must produce packaging of much higher quality that won’t lose its value – such as durable mono-materials.

The choices at the initial design stage dictates how the end-product can and will be processed and ultimately affect the entire life cycle; how consumers dispose of the waste, how municipalities handle the waste, and lastly, how producers once again can make valuable use of the waste. Fact is that depending on where you are in the world, around 50-80% of today’s food-packaging found in supermarkets are not recyclable in household collections. It is either not recyclable (or almost impossible) or it has no labelling to show if and how to recycle it.4+5+6 Producing non-recyclable (or not reusable) products practically categorise the material as invaluable and doomed to be wasted.

If we don’t take the entire life cycle of the products into account at the initial design stage, we make it impossible to keep the materials circulating.

With RE-4’s unique formula, we utilize plastic’s favourable benefits yet with an up to 70% reduction. Obtaining such a reduction in plastic use isn’t particularly difficult unless you wish to keep a mono-structure. We have invented a material that does just that; reduce the use of PP, while keeping a mono-structure. As such, RE-4 is a material that is easy to label, sort, collect and recycle, which are all fundamental to preserve the material’s high quality even after it has been recycled.

Likewise, the mono structure makes it possible to mix in waste from a similar material source without altering the properties of the material or its reuse- and recyclability – hence, giving waste value. The most difficult waste to reprocess is municipal waste, the kind of waste that is often “disposed of” by shipping it to LMICs who are drowning in it.

As a solution, we have come up with a rRE-4 non-food material where 50% of the PP stems from municipal waste. Additionally, we are testing a rRE-4 food-contact material, which is mixed with recycled PP stemming from post-consumer waste encapsulated in high-barrier protective layers. This is durable thanks to our 20-layer mono-structure. Not only will this create a viable end market for recycled material, but also reduce the need to harvest virgin raw materials.

As we are able to add both contaminated and recycled plastic waste to the RE-4 structure, we are fighting for a world free of waste pollution.