Company Founded By Millennials Is Popping the Plastic Bubble

By Alexandra Patel

TemperPack, a company founded by three Millennials in Richmond, Virginia is changing the packaging business by setting for their business not only financial goals but also CO2 reduction goals achieved through the use by their customers of their revolutionary packaging.  Last year the company succeeded in avoiding the creation of 25 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Their sustainably designed insulation (ClimaCell™) and packaging techniques (PopBox™), which can eliminate styrofoam insulation and “popcorn,” bubble wrap, and plastic “pillows,” are fully curbside recyclable and thus vastly reduce the environmental impact of shipping and the waste associated with disposing of traditional packaging.

Why This Matters: As cities struggle to recycle and avoid putting waste in landfills, products like these will be in increasing demand.  TemperPack demonstrates how young people are willing to start businesses that will disrupt current wasteful and fossil fuel dependent systems because they are especially motivated to confront climate change. The company’s rapid success is a harbinger of changing times, but also a reminder that it is still only the beginning of the revolution needed to beat our plastic addiction. While making momentous gains in reducing waste and CO2 emissions through sustainable packaging, we still have not figured out a way to scale biofuels for airplanes and electrify the delivery truck fleet so that we can eliminate transportation emissions associated with home delivery upon which shipping is dependent.

2018 Environmental Impact Report Highlights:

  • TemperPack beat its original goal for the year by over 50%.
  • The company gave a second life to over 8 million pounds of repurposed cotton fibers that would have gone into landfills.
  • By using PopBox™, TemperPack’s customers avoided sending over 500,000 pounds of bubble wrap into landfills.

Packaging and Shipping are Big Emitters: The rise of both food and pharmaceutical deliveries is one of the fastest growing shipping markets, with just the food delivery market valuing at more than $100 billion. They are also some of the most waste-producing market sectors. In 2015, containers and packaging amounted to 77.9 million tons of waste generation with recycling rates only at 53%. To make matters worse, according to WorldACD, perishables and pharmaceuticals were the best-performing air cargo classes during the month of May in 2015 – meaning they fly A LOT. If global aviation were a country, it would be the seventh largest CO2 emitter. The-commerce giant Amazon has even resisted the pressure to publish an environmental impact report for years as its ‘two-day’ prime shipping and its large associated negative impact on the climate would not bode the company well to investors and shareholders.

Global AND Local Impact: TemperPack intends to invest $10.4 million in its local community to establish a manufacturing operation. This facility will be the company’s second in Virginia and will create 141 new jobs.

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