The ability of single-use sachets to provide people everywhere with a single dose of instant coffee, shampoo, or medical supplies has many benefits, but because they are so small they often escape collection and end up on beaches, in rivers, or the ocean. Evoware introduces seaweed as a solution, which is a great example of how a biological feedstock can be used for a technical purpose and then safely biodegraded. Evoware plans to increase its local capacity and is positioned to expand internationally since seaweed has the capacity to grow on almost every coastline.
Seaweed-based packaging that replaces billions of small bits of plastics with a nutrient boost.
Category 2: Redesigning sachets
Evoware, an Indonesian startup, designs food wrappings and sachets (containing, for example, instant coffee or flavouring for noodles) made out of a seaweed-based material that can be dissolved and eaten.
How does this innovation accelerate the transition to a circular economy?
Evoware has created an edible alternative to the commonly used multi-layered plastic sachet. It manufactures the material directly from plant matter, making it not only edible but also nutritious. You can literally eat your burger with the wrapping still on, or dissolve your coffee granules along with their sachet in hot water and drink it. In addition, Evoware has designed a version, made using damar resin from South Asian fig trees, that holds liquids, creating readily compostable packaging for personal care products and medical supplies.
3 questions for the team
What led you to come up with this idea?
The inspiration came from a childhood experience when I woke up late for school and to save time had instant noodles for breakfast. Preparing them can be speeded up when there are no small sachets to be opened. The second inspiration comes from the fact that Jakarta, where I live, often suffers from flooding due to plastic waste clogging up the water system. These experiences have challenged me to turn research into real solutions for the market.
Many others are proposing edible packaging instead of plastic. What makes your idea stand out?
We use seaweed without chemical additives in applications where its ability to dissolve in hot water or be eaten adds functionality and value. Among unaltered biomaterials, seaweed has one of the best mechanical properties while still being energy efficient and very economical. In addition, its cultivation does not need land acquisition or deforestation as is often the case when land-based plants are used to provide bio-sourced materials.
What excites you the most about the New Plastics Economy Accelerator Programme?
We are excited about the programme because it provides a lot of the support we need to scale up our business. It enables us to meet outstanding mentors and widen our network. The advice and guidance of mentors with invaluable international business experience gives us the confidence to enter the global market.