Start-up replaces plastic packaging with food waste


Sugarcane waste-based packaging is plastic-free and fully compostable.

Israeli food-tech start-up W-Cycle has developed SupraPulp, a plastic-free packaging made of sugarcane waste that is fully compostable, safe, yet durable enough to be used for greasy, wet or hot food. Packaged food with SupraPulp can be frozen and heated with either an oven, convection oven, steam cooker or microwave.

Designed as a replacement for plastic, aluminum or foam containers, SupraPulp is made from 100% renewable sugarcane fibres, called bagasse, the dry, pulpy fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice.

SupraPulp is compostable, non-coated, toxin- and metal-free. The containers’ characteristics make them the ideal alternative to plastic trays for food products, especially fresh, frozen, or prepared consumer packaged meals. While standard pulp products cannot sustain liquid and oils, SupraPulp containers are oil- and water-resistant, and avoid absorption or leakage.

Crystalline polyethylene terephthalate (CPET) plastic trays are typically used in ready-meal packaging. SupraPulp, just like CPET, can be adopted for ready meals since it is suitable for freezer-to-oven and microwave convenience. Fresh meat, poultry and seafood are also commonly packaed in plastic due to their juice runoff. SupraPulp can be a replacement as it will not absorb them, leak or soften, W-Cycle claimed.

Following years of R&D efforts, W-Cycle’s new SupraPulp material is able to be frozen in -40 degree Celsius, and reheated to 270 degrees Celsius, catering to a range of food applications. After use, the package can be disposed of as organic waste.

Lior Itai, CEO and co-founder of W-Cycle, said: “Dispose SupraPulp packages the same way as you would with your salad. This food-grade, compostable packaging is a one-to-one replacement for its plastic counterpart. There are other compostable solutions on the market, but SupraPulp has game-changing functionality consumers need when they want to heat, freeze, or microwave convenience food products. Plus, SupraPulp trays have a luxury look and feel compared to plastic, aluminum, or bioplastic containers.”

Other green solutions such as bioplastic made from the whole plant need to be specially grown, harvested, and processed. SupraPulp is made from the waste upcycled from sugarcane, or similar crops such as wheat and bananas.

Joseph Siani, CTO and co-founder of W-Cycle, concluded: “COVID-19 is drawing consumers’ attention to how we treat our planet and the future of the environment. There is greater demand – and pressure – on brands to offer environmentally responsible products. Providing a compostable solution for ready meals and meat products allows us to help food manufacturers as well as consumers ditch plastic containers and create a cleaner environment. Together, we can put end to plastic pollution.”