Images of plastic waste covering beaches and choking waterways are not new but with each passing year the urgency to find a solution to limit non-biodegradable plastics entering natural ecosystems has only grown, and consumers are ever more aware and alert of the sustainability challenges we all face.
Plant-based plastics are often derided for being flimsy and unable to match the durability of their traditional counterparts, but George Chen, CEO of Ecoinno, a Hong Kong-based green material company is on a mission to change that perception.
Ecoinno’s patented Green Composite Material™ (GCM™) is a plant-based polymer that aims to replace plastics, and the company is currently focusing on food packaging, given its role as one of the most common examples of single-use plastic. It is made of natural plant fiber, “the most abundant renewable resources on Earth,” according to Chen.
“Because of its engineered characteristics, GCM™ meets the basic functionality of single-use plastics in terms of tensile strengths which is three times stronger than plastic and bioplastic, and tolerates various temperatures, water, and oil, similar to traditional, oil-based plastics. It is versatile and its potential applications are many.”
“GCM™ can be 100% broken down into soil within 75 days without harsh conditions, it can also be turned into fuel, generating energy, it’s how Ecoinno is creating a circular economy that enables stakeholders to take part and benefit from it,” he says.
He says that the incentives for changing to plant-based plastics are “compelling but we need to connect the dots for investors and customers,” and in the case of the former, helping them see the connection between ESG and business values, “helping them make sound decisions about how to allocate capital and resources.”
He says that their technology is challenging the “hardwired” presumption that eco-friendly products and services come with a premium and require trade-offs, often financial ones.
“We are here to break the notion that eco-friendly is costly. Ecoinno offers new materials and a scalable solution that is cost-efficient. We provide brands and consumers plastic alternatives without breaking the bank.
“Consumers can start by becoming more informed, then practice making conscious choices. Breaking habits and changing behaviors are never easy but [Ecoinno] makes everyday decision-making simple.”
“Our missions are clear: we replace single-use plastic; reduce the carbon cycle; turn waste into energy - all without a hefty price tag. So instead of asking: Will this product biodegrade? Can I afford it? Consumers only have to answer one question: Am I committed to be a part of the solution? It’s a simple yes or no.”
He agrees that Gen Z and millennials are leading the charge for change and are willing to spend premium on sustainable goods. But he says that as a global problem, environmental concerns, and the consumer choices each of us makes, are crucial.
“Everyone has a stake in sustainability. We move forward together, or we don’t.”
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