LifeMade Products LLC – Sustainable Disposables

A market leader of temperature-control packaging and disposable tabletop products.

Creating sustainable alternatives to everyday products that offer both performance and environmental protection is the core business of LifeMade Products LLC (LifeMade), a market leader of temperature-control packaging and disposable tabletop products across the consumer, commercial and healthcare industries.

Disposable and sustainable is not necessarily a contradiction. It is all down to the material, and LifeMade has had a wide range of experience in researching the best options in line with natural processes.

The company, headquartered in Greer, South Carolina, employs over 500 people at its nine production facilities across the country. LifeMade’s growing customer base includes both local and global companies, including Walmart and leading health care companies.

Mark Gettig, the company’s President says: “We reflect material science into central products that people rely on in their everyday lives. What makes us different from other companies in the industry is that we use technology and cutting-edge innovations to make those essential products more sustainable. We provide environmentally preferred solutions, and we are doing that in a sustainable manner. Our R&D experts innovate formulations of sustainable materials best suited for these essential products.”

The power of two

Introducing the business, he explains that LifeMade is part of the Jadex Inc. group of companies, and pursues two business segments: Lifoam Industries, LLC (Lifoam), focused on the manufacture of temperature-control packaging products such as thermal shippers and refrigerant gel packs; and Hearthmark, LLC (Hearthmark), a leading provider of disposable cutlery and single-use products for the retail consumer markets under the LifeMade® brand.

Lifoam, a global provider of innovative and cost-effective cold-chain shipping solutions, has been building upon that legacy for more than 60 years. They specialise in developing leading-edge thermal protection products, with validated design and performance through its onsite  ISTA 20 certified laboratory.

The temperature-control packaging is developed in collaborative partnerships with major pharmaceutical and commercial customers. On the other hand, Hearthmark’s LifeMade® product line is developed with four aspects in mind – convenience, quality, performance, and environmental awareness.

Mr Gettig says: “Driven by consumer passion and retailer focus, sustainability has become a core business objective across a wide range of industries. However, the key is that sustainability should not be to the detriment of performance. Whether it be disposable cutlery or a shipper for medical purposes, consumers require performance, and the products still need to do what they are supposed to do. The fact is that many sustainable products don’t perform well.”

Innovations in line with nature

LifeMade has introduced products that do both. One of the company’s flagship products is the Envirocooler™ insulated shipper, a product made with landfill biodegradable foam technology that degrades within four years.

“With this cooler, we deliver the same quality and function as traditional coolers and offer an alternative that is better for our environment. Traditional foam coolers do not degrade within a human lifespan, ours needs just four years and, unlike some, do not degrade into microplastics,” affirms Mr Gettig.

Over a year ago, the company introduced another special innovation – the first-ever home compostable straw! These straws perform like traditional plastic straws – with matching strength and durability – while reducing waste and environmental impact. The straws are suited for industrial and domestic environments and provide convenience while still being very environmentally friendly.

Product development continues, says Mr Gettig:

“We are now introducing Bioffex™ technology – a 100% plant-based, fully compostable alternative to Styrofoam that degrades in under three weeks. This is something we are very excited about.”

He further points out that the company has several more exciting innovations in the pipeline, due to be launched in the coming months.

“It is important to mention that it is not just our products that are sustainable – the same applies to our manufacturing processes, which have many environmental aspects to them, such as using less energy.”

Right time, right place

The global pandemic has shifted consumers to remain sequestered in their homes for extended periods of time.

This has impacted many companies’ businesses, both positively and negatively. Thanks to their unique portfolio, LifeMade has been instrumental in supporting the changes to societal norms caused by Covid-19 and has become a valued supplier during the vaccine distribution effort.

The company saw a steep growth in the temperature control packaging business, as demand increased in the food-to-home segment. The same trajectory has been seen in the disposable cutlery business, as people started to venture outside.

To continue to respond to the largest vaccine distribution event in modern history, the company increased the supply of the versatile Envirocooler™ ActiVault™ portable refrigerated storage system.

This flexible solution has been ideal for effectively managing the dynamics of transporting, storing, and administering the vaccines, Covid-19 or otherwise, in a variety of settings, making life easier for many laboratories, clinics, medical couriers, and pharmaceutical companies.

“In addition to making sure our people were safe, our biggest task was to keep up with the demand,” says Mr Gettig. “But that challenge has been handled well, despite the new obstacles such as a shortage of raw materials and disrupted supply chains.”

Growing in partnerships

“We have benefitted from the fact that we have well-established long-term relationships with our suppliers; the best of them are like-minded in terms of material science leadership, applying innovation and technologies.

We are working with some of the leading material companies in the world, and they are not just suppliers but true partners.” The company can also rely on its staff, says Mr Gettig.

“Despite the very tight labour markets, we have had a lot of success with recruiting the right talent.

We are more than a manufacturing company – the fact that we are passionate about innovations, material science and sustainability has been helpful when recruiting the best and brightest scientists and engineers. What we stand for has given us an advantage.”

He affirms that further growth has been promoted by heavy investment in the last few years, and investment in further development is going to continue.

“We are going to add more capacity for the products we make today, as well as develop more sustainable solutions – in line with the growing trend for sustainable products, made truly in line with nature.”

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