Richmond Firm Battle Glut of Plastic Packaging

The world has a packaging problem – an excessive amount of plastic piling up in landfills or coasting in the sea. Yet, Americans love comfort and there’s developing interest for short-lived items dispatched in styrofoam or pressing peanuts.

Presently, three friends from school have begun a Richmond company that keeps items cool without threatening the environment.

TemperPack started four years back in a carport with three representatives. Today, it has 350 workers in Richmond and Las Vegas, making three diverse bundling items. The first is thermal blankets that can be laid inside a cardboard box. Co-CEO James McGoff shows me a small square coming off the assemblyline.

“This is cotton, and if you look closely you see there are little seeds and sticks in it, and this is cotton that wasn’t good enough to be used for textiles, for clothes,” he explains. “The benefit is it’s a natural resource. It sequesters CO2 as it grows. It’s a great insulator,” he says.

At that point there are packing peanuts made with a secret sauce – cellulose. When they’re utilized to dispatch, they can be sent to paper plants where they’re blended with water to create pulp.

“Cellulose as a base material is amazing, and cardboard, paper, these things are renewable, they’re natural,” he explains. “You can make them in a way that there are very low emissions. You can recycle them and compost them. It’s one of the best materials we have access to.”

What’s more, at long last, TemperPack makes pop boxes – uncommonly ridged cardboard that helps keep contents cool.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with the silver bubble foil – kind of like bubble bags. This is similar to that, and it brings recyclability to the game,” McGoff says.

Include a gel pack or dry ice, and – relying upon which product you pick – TemperPack promises it will keep substance frozen, refrigerated or cool for up to 55 hours.

“ Let’s say I have diabetes and I take insulin. It’s coming right to my doorstep. It needs to be between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. There are a lot of companies now that are side-stepping pharmacies and going right to people’s doorsteps. If the person is not home, you have to make sure that this packaging can keep the temperature requirement so that the drug stays effective.

Notwithstanding medicine, the company gives packaging for meal kits, flowers, frozen dog food and ice cream.

With colleagues Brian Powers and Charles Vincent, McGoff has raised a huge number of dollars to design and assemble specific machines to make green packaging, and speculators have seen fast development – sales rising 500% over the last three years. They’ve had to document the protective power of their products and secure a recycling logo from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, but those things done, McGoff says customers were anxious to do the right thing.

“By 2025 people say there is going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight, which is pretty insane if you think about it, and the other thing that I like to hang onto is one third of all the city’s waste is packaging material. You have so much stuff that’s going to the doorstep now that’s perishable, so you need a lot more of this temperature-controlled packaging, but at the same time you have a large pushback on these single use plastics. They don’t really have a good brand appeal, so there’s a big hole in the market – about a $20 billion hole – that we’re trying to fill with new, innovative packaging concepts.”

TemperPack is contending with some bundling goliaths, however the folks don’t stress over challenge from abroad. The profit margin on packaging materials is so low, they say, that manufacturers in Asia can’t afford the cost of shipping to the United States.

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