Turning Plastics Problems into Solutions for Our Health & the Health of the Planet

Posted On Monday, 18 September 2017
Turning Plastics Problems into Solutions for Our Health & the Health of the Planet

Plastic has become a huge problem not only for our environment but also for our health. A recent study released shows that billions of people are drinking tap water contaminated with plastic and that the United States is as at the highest contamination rate at 94 percent!

The plastic problem is becoming an issue we can no longer ignore and was one that I was faced head on with my own family.

The morning that was going to change the direction of my work life started like any other morning in our house -- the rush to get the kids ready to go to school. I wanted to refill the kids’ water bottles when I realized there were no bottles! This wasn’t the first time this had happened. It happened every few days, so I told them, "Hey guys, you have to bring the bottles back because there's no way you're going to take a new bottle to school every day and just throw it into the garbage bin. So much plastic waste… just doesn't work."

The kids left for school and I went out jogging, but that day, as I was running, that conversation, just like many others along similar lines, made the connection in my mind. I thought to myself, there must be a different way, a better way…

Better Doesn’t Mean Easier

I knew of compostable plastic bottles and compostable plastic bags. As I ran, I wondered if one could create a compostable bag that could replace the plastic bottle. Why? Because there’s so much less raw material in a bag than in a bottle; maybe half of the package raw material. As the expression goes, the light bulb started flashing. Create a pouch that is also compostable, and that at its end of life would decompose in the same way as any organic material, for example, like an orange peel!

I was determined to make the idea a reality. At that point I met my co-founder. We started working together on designing cool water bags for kids, athletics, adults and more. We also hired bio plastic experts to find the appropriate materials for those beverage bags. After six months they came back to us and said that there was no biodegradable material on the market that was suitable for the bags. They suggested we come back in few years and make the same inquiry. We hired designers to design compostable bags for different usage occasions, as well as two plastics’ experts to help find the right materials to use.

The reality of how difficult it was going to be to make flexible film for compostable materials, hit home. But we thought to ourselves, “There's no way there's no solution because, if there are compostable bottles and bags, it doesn't make any sense to me that there is no solution. Maybe we will have to work a little bit to come up with one.” So, we hired a research center and services, and started working with them.

From Idea to Solution: A Compostable Flexible Plastic

That’s how TIPA the company started: working on compostable films for water bags. During the first part of our journey two things became clear. The first was that the major problem of the food industry or of the plastic industry, is not bottles. Bottles, and especially water bottles, can be collected and recycled. The bigger problem lies with the flexibles, because the majority of flexible packages cannot be recycled.

The second thing that became clear was that it wasn’t going to be easy to develop flexible compostable packages that would be equal to conventional plastic in terms of packaging. The variety of the raw materials that can be used is not that extensive, and compostable packaging is by its nature not strong. We were going to have to develop films that were the equal to conventional plastic in terms of how they looked how they behaved.

It was going to be a long and challenging journey, but one in which we, and later, those who came to join us in TIPA, really believed in… for our kids, and for the planet that they will inherit from us.

Simple Solutions for the Health of Our Planet & People

Fast-forward seven years and we did it! Today TIPA focuses on compostable flexible packaging solutions from food to fashion. You can find our bags holding designer and eco-clothing, as well as being used as packaging for snacks, produce, grains, and now also coffee. We even have pouches with zippers where the zippers are compostable along with the packaging. Every family can be a part of this change now but simply swapping the zipper plastic sandwich bags you are currently using with TIPA compostable sandwich bags that can be easily ordered online at Reuseit.

My kids don’t remember the morning that started it all, but I’ll never forget it. It is true that you can find a better way to do things if you really want to, and if you search long and hard enough you can make a difference that can positively impact the planet and ultimately your health.

Daphna Nissenbaum

Daphna Nissenbaum is CEO and co-founder of TIPA.  Before launching TIPA, she served as the CEO of the Caesarea Center for Capital Markets and Risk Management at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya. Previously, she held various management positions at SPL World Group Ltd, a provider of revenue and operations management software, and before that served as a project manager at Whelty Lager Ltd., located in Boston MA, USA.  

Nissenbaum holds an MBA specializing in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from IDC Herzliya (graduated with honors) and a BA in Economics and Software Engineering from the Bar Ilan University. She graduated the elite Israeli Army software engineering program (Mamram) and served in the Israeli Navy software unit as an officer (ranked Captain).

Website: tipa-corp.com/

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