Evanesce – Green Packaging
As a sustainable technology innovator, Evanesce is revolutionising sustainable packaging with 100% compostable, cost-effective, plant-based solutions.
Canada-headquartered Evanesce is a pioneer in sustainable packaging that – unlike many competitive products – truly leaves a minimum footprint in the environment: under its two product lines, Evanesce Molded Starch and Evanesce Biopolymers, the company designs, develops and manufactures sustainable foodservice and packaging solutions that are certified compostable, commercially scalable and cost-competitive using the latest advancements in material science.
100% compostable, 100% plant-based, 100% cost-competitive – those are the characteristics that describe Evanesce’s products in a nutshell. Needless to say, this eco-friendly disposable food packaging is poised to disrupt the industry and make the company a force to reckon with in the fast-evolving sustainable materials market.
“Guided by the principles of the circular economy, our compostable foodservice and packaging solutions look and feel like their petroleum counterparts, but are 100% plant-based,” says the company founder and CEO Douglas Horne.
He set up the company in 2016, acutely aware of the need to come up with not only sustainable but also economically viable solutions. With a career in finance and the Canadian government, Douglas witnessed first-hand how too great a focus is often put on noble but financially unviable aims.
He says: “One thing that I learned when I was working in government offices was that often environmentally sound solutions do not consider the economic side of things, and create a significant cost to the consumer. However, it is really important to focus hard on economics, to make sure that a solution is not only sustainable but also cost-effective. These two aspects go hand-in-hand, and our business has always reflected both of these requirements.”
Douglas has built several successful companies throughout his career and when he came across a group with fantastic technology, completely plant-based, he immediately saw the potential.
“We acquired that technology in 2017, went through the process of commercialising it and getting it into full-scale production in 2021. We are now really excited about bringing this technology to the market,” he says.
While its patented moulded starch technology business is set to be applied in production in the coming months, Evanesce’s high-quality line of biopolymer food packaging products is already in the market under a joint venture with Minima, a company in Taiwan.
Made from renewable resources such as corn starch, the products are an affordable eco-friendly alternative that is lightweight and as strong as traditional plastic. Different starches may be used, such as tapioca, potato, and others.
“The combination of the two lines gives us a very good portfolio of products, especially for the foodservice area. This includes compostable straws, cold drink cups, hot beverage cups, compostable cutlery, plates and others, basically replacing single-use plastics,” says Douglas.
“As we use larger amounts of starch, we have much lower costs compared to other plant-based certified compostable products in the market. Another thing that is exciting about the technology is that it is not specific to any particular fibre or starch, we can use many different types and sources.This allows us to source locally, which again gives us a lower environmental footprint compared to our competitors.”
As the world increases focus on sustainability, demand for eco-friendly products is also increasing. Evanesce is set to accommodate this demand. In 2022, the company plans to launch its 100% compostable, 100% plant-based range of Evanesce® Moulded Starch products include meat trays, meal trays, food containers, cups and five-section meal trays.
Compostability is a key aspect, Douglas affirms, as compostable packaging reduces landfill waste and contributes to healthy soil. However, the significance of this process is not necessarily recognised by key stakeholders.
“It is necessary to increase the amount of composting infrastructure we have – that is a major task for the present and the future, and the only way forward. The governments currently spend hundreds of millions of dollars on recycling which just does not work as planned. The money should rather be spent on creating proper composting infrastructure, which would save money on a number of different levels,” he points out.
Making an impact
He confirms that the company is well on track with its plans, and financially secured. In October, Evanesce opened its first US production facility in South Carolina. With the launch, the company not only hits a milestone in its global expansion plans but also addresses the worldwide shortage of eco-friendly bioplastic products due to overseas shipping delays.
Spread across 15,000 sq. ft, the new facility is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery that will produce eco-friendly foodservice products. The facility currently has the ability to produce millions of compostable straws per day.
These straws are at par or cheaper than paper straws, offer significantly improved durability, and commercially compost within 90 days.
“The opening of our first US-based manufacturing facility in South Carolina is an exciting milestone in our growth plan. Being adjacent to I-95, our facility allows us to seamlessly service North America,” said Douglas Horne.
He reveals that the company is now in the process of commissioning its second facility in Las Vegas, which should be completed in the second quarter of 2022. “We are definitely set to expand, and we are continuing to advance this technology, looking for new partnerships and developing the technology further to make sure that the solutions we provide are the best available,” he says. It is not only its unique technology that has enabled the company rapid growth but also its people, he further affirms. “Success is always about building a great team, and that’s what we have. We have some great supporters and shareholders in the company who believe in our future.”
“At the end of 2022, we will be looking for a third facility in North America, striving to build strong partnerships and expand our portfolio. My team and I are excited about the future, and the impact that Evanesce will make.”