Interview with SUPERSEVEN, Green Alley Award Finalist 2018
We all have seen the images of our oceans slowly turning into a plastic soup, of beaches covered with packaging and of microplastics endangering the lives of all kinds of sea creatures. The sustainable packaging developed by the German startup Superseven might be a way to reduce the current amount of plastic waste that harms our environment. With their brand Repaq, the startup has invented packaging solutions consisting of cellulose which come with similar features as plastics but are also 100% biodegradable within 42 days. For comparison a conventional plastic bag can take up to 500 years to be completely disaggregated. With their packaging alternative, Superseven made it to the six nominees of the Green Alley Award 2018, Europe’s first startup prize for the circular economy. Read here how their idea can solve the problem of microplastics and why every producer should switch their packaging to Repaq.
# Packaging based on cellulose is not a new idea. What is your USP? What can you do better than established packaging producers in the market?
Cellulose in origin was applicable for just a few types of packaging. We all know the small glued bags for cookies and pralines. Our USP is, that we make cellulose usable for a lot more products and applications. We design it to make it work for the circular economy. First, we are the only company in Europe, that has received the certificate “home- and garden compostable” for our fully 4C printed packaging out of cellulose film by the German TÜV / DinCertco. This is the highest ecological standard worldwide. Second, we developed and patented a new type of hot seal geometry for improving the packaging mechanical strength. Hence, we can pack bigger and heavier products. Third, we combine cellulose film with other compostable materials into compounds. In this way we are able to provide fully home compostable laminates with unique barrier values and mechanical properties. Moreover, we communicate the benefits of our compostable packaging (www.repaq.de) and other recyclable products to business partners and to consumers in a very simple and clear way (www.superseven.eu) and inform about all topics around the circular economy on our blog (www.verycompostable.com). There we promote our customers products with editorial success stories and advertising images.
# How can Repaq contribute to solving the problem of microplastics in the environment?
It does not matter where Repaq will end up after its useful life, it has more ecological benefits than any other packaging material. It is non-toxic and does not harm the environment. Even if it flies around onshore or offshore, Repaq will never be microplastics. Every bioactive environment and organism is able to assimilate it. Repaq biodegrades in nature within 42 days. Every mineral oil based indestructable packaging changed into Repaq is a valuable contribution to reduce the amount of microplastics. It is one of many other necessary measures to solve our plastic problem.
# Currently, there is no recycling infrastructure for bioplastic materials in place. What can you tell consumers who want to dispose of their Repaq packaging in a sustainable way?
Repaq supports the circular economy in Europe and is made to be recycled organically. The best way is disposing it in the organic waste bin or add it to your home compost. Compost is the best fertilizer we have. Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands accept compostable materials in their circular organic waste system. Also France promotes home compostable packaging materials. We are sure that composting bioplastic materials are going to be very important to sustain the valuable materials we use on our planet – even in Germany, because composting is the only recycling process which is infinite.
If a German consumer is not allowed to dispose Repaq into the organic waste cycle, we recommend to throw it in the residual waste bin or in the bag for lightweight packaging. Even when it will be recycled thermally, it burns C02-neutral. Repaq is capable to digest without oxygen. Thus, landfill is also no problem.
# How does a working day at Superseven look like? Are you actually involved in the production of the packaging?
A typical Superseven Day starts at 9:00 am with checking mails and messages. Then we meet with a coffee to plan the daily / weekly work to do. A lot of telephone calls follow to organize current productions, talking to customers and answering new requests. Around 12:30 pm lunchtime starts for an hour. In the afternoon we motivate business partners to do things they usually do not do, creating new ideas into packaging materials, manufacture samples or convincing interested companies to go for Repaq packaging. A typical Superseven Day ends with checking contracts or reading news about innovative packaging design or answering questions for an interview.
# Who are your (potential) customers and why should they switch their packaging to Repaq?
Repaq is suitable for a lot of products that need to be protected. The restriction is in the size and the weight of the product, but not in the application. We can provide flexible packaging for nearly every market. Our potential customers sell high quality products and obviously feel the need to have a good packaging that fits their purposes. In the awareness of their common sense, these producers will be an active part of a change. The facts and the story about Repaq products will make a switch very easy. There are many ecological, economical and marketing arguments to turn into good. At the end your product makes the difference in a purchase decision.
# For me circular economy means…
… to sustain all valuable materials we gain as long as possible without losing quality or polluting our planet.
Find the interviews with the other finalists of the Green Alley Award 2018 here: