"We are inspired every day to design packaging to be like an orange peel to an orange."
Elk Packaging is a family run business which has been established for over 35 years. They produce sustainable packaging solutions for food, nutraceutical and cosmetic products. Committed to protecting the future of our planet, they have developed sustainable packaging in most formats including labels, cartons, display boxes and flexible film.
For this week's 5 Minutes with... our reporter Emily O'Dowd spoke to Elk Packaging's Director of Strategy, Reyna Bryan who is responsible for new product research and development, process design and business strategy. Reyna provides an insight into sustainable packaging market and how demand has changed in recent years.
Emily O'Dowd (EOD): What first inspired you to enter the bio-based industry?
Reyna Bryan (RB): In looking for solutions to the global waste problem, I (like many others) have turned to nature for wisdom and inspiration. Nature creates beautiful, functional, high-performance, high-efficiency materials many of which become nutrients once they’ve served their original purpose. We at Elk Packaging ( @elkpackaging ) are inspired every day to design packaging to be like an orange peel to an orange. Bio-based materials play a critical role to making this vision a reality.
EOD: What do you enjoy most about your role?
RB: What I enjoy most about my role is the innovation process. I love working with new materials, building new supply chains and collaborating across the value-chain. We have a unique process that allows us to break down silos and work with brands, material suppliers and manufactures toward a higher goal.
EOD: How has the demand for sustainable packaging grown in recent years?
RB: We have seen an explosive demand in sustainable packaging. More brands and consumers are taking an active role by seeking out packaging solutions that are better for the environment.
Meet Reyna Bryan plus Patagonia, P&G and many more American brands at this year's Bio-Based Live in San Diego!
EOD: How confident are you that more suppliers will change their packaging criteria in the next three years’?
RB: Every year we see more and more sustainable packaging inquiries coming from brands. Major CPG companies are acknowledging the waste issue of conventional multi-layer flexible film packaging, and are eager to find close-looped solutions. Also, there are more sustainable materials available on the market today than ever before, and access to and awareness of these materials is expanding.
EOD: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in the industry so far?
RB: High price of bio-based resins, long supply chains, major knowledge gap in the market (many brands and customers do not know how to discern what is truly “sustainable”, and what options are available), functionality of bio-based materials.
EOD: What single change do you think would help the bio-based industry further?
RB: I think two things are essential to helping this progression; firstly, structured innovation sessions with product suppliers and brands to match solutions to needs, and secondly, consumer and brand education. In turn this could create a demand-pull dynamic in the market.
EOD: What is your favourite bio-based product aside from your own product range?
RB: It would have to be the Ecovative Mushroom based material for building insulation.
Our last 5 minutes with... Anne Schauer-Gimenez, VP of Customer Engagement for Mango Materials.
Bio-Based World News will bring this 5 minute feature to our readers every week. This will able to put a face to the brand and provide established businesses and new start-ups the crucial advise they need in this industry. If you would like to be interviewed about your own bio-based/sustainable business then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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