Last week, Techstars opened applications for the second year of the Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator in Hartford, CT and shared that we have expanded our focus to consider Additive Manufacturing companies OR Sustainable Packaging companies. With this expanded focus, I’m excited to identify companies that can positively impact the world, and continue to help move the manufacturing industry forward. Some people have been asking me what types of companies we’re looking for in regards to Sustainable Packaging. We’re looking at the vertical with a wide lens and are open to companies working on innovative solutions in a number of areas including material science, hardware, industrial design or software.
More specifically, we’re excited to discover startups working on innovative approaches to solve some of the following challenges associated with clamshell packaging:
- The Environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about one-third of consumer garbage is packaging, and plastics comprise 12% of U.S. waste each year. A sustainable alternative would obviously create a positive impact on the environment. In 2018, Stanley Black & Decker committed to combat plastic pollution and joined with leading businesses and governments to sign The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and United Nations Environment Programme. Their intention is to make all of their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While the organization is working internally to solve this challenge, they are also looking for innovative companies that can help.
- “Wrap rage” Did you know that there is an actual term for the increased levels of anger or frustration associated with the inability to open packaging? It’s called Wrap rage or Packaging Rage. Every year thousands of people end up in the emergency room because they’ve inadvertently harmed themselves trying to open a package. Companies thinking innovatively about sustainability should also consider the consumer impact their offering might have.
- Security and Protection. So we know clamshell packaging doesn’t create a great user experience. It’s hard to open. It’s not great for the environment. So why is it in use? Clamshell packaging is designed to allow customers to view a product, while making it difficult to steal. It also protects products from damage as they are shipped around the world. So as companies move to create sustainable solutions that positively impact the environment, and improve consumer experiences, they need to consider the full supply chain, and how their solutions can still help companies ensure products are not damaged during transport, and can be safely stored on shelves.
If your company is working on tackling any of these issues, you should consider applying to the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator in Hartford.