Sulapac: the startup making biodegradable, plastic-free beauty packaging a reality
Earlier this month, eu-startups.com named Sulapac as one of 10 “promising circular economy startups” for the work the company is doing to “redefine the packaging industry.” In 2018, Wired UK included Sulapac on their top 100 list of the “hottest startups in Europe.” And the year after the company’s launch, Luxe Pack Monaco recognized Sulapac with the award for “best green packaging solution;” and that same year Sulapac also won Ecovia's Sustainable Beauty Awards in the Green Packaging.
When it seems every cosmetics and personal care brand, manufacturer, and packager is shifting toward cleaner, greener materials, a company like Sulapac stands out for good reason.
The Sulapac materials
Currently Sulapac makes 2 different materials: a Premium Material and a Universal Material. Both are composed of wood and natural, organic polymers. Both materials decompose best in an industrial composting facility (and according to a 2016 report from the European Compost Network, Finland has some 20 operating composting plants able to handle 50,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per year.)
Both materials also “biodegrade fully and leave no microplastics behind,” according to the company site, which also explains that if packaging made with Sulapac Premium or Universal is mechanically recycled, it keeps its properties through as many as six cycles. And both materials also function as drop-in alternatives to plastic in existing injection mold packaging production systems.
Besides the two materials, the company makes a stock collection of packaging called the Nordic Collection. That ready-made line of jars is available in 9 colors “inspired by Nordic nature,” and 3 sizes (15ml, 30ml, and 50ml).
The Sulapac mission
Sulapac, as the website explains it, has a vision to be “the number one sustainable material replacing plastic” and has set a company mission of “saving the world from plastic waste.” The public company is funded by Lifeline Ventures, Business Finland, and the EU Horizon 2020 – program, as well as by strategic firms and private backers.
Biochemists Suvi Haimi and Laura Kyllönen launched their Helsinki, Finland – based company in 2016 to develop and commercialize an alternative to single-use plastics. And they now specialize in materials that have “all the benefits of plastic…biodegrades completely and leaves no trace once it’s gone,” according to the company’s about page.
Theirs is said to be the first biodegradable packaging material produced and used at industrial scale. And in February of 2018, Naviter (based in Helsinki, Finland) became the first beauty brand to use the material for cosmetics or personal care packaging. Though it seems many more will follow; the Sulapac site notes that it’s Nordic Collection is already sold out for 2019. But the company will entertain inquiries from companies interested in 10,000+ units.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.