Female Founded and Led Bioplastics Products Company On the Move

Repurpose is aiming to expand line of PLA-based disposable and certified compostable picnic and party wear.

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Just last month, I reported on a female-led injection molder and noted that we just might be poised to see more such female-led plastics processing and products companies crop up.

It looks as though bioplastics might be yet another avenue where we are likely to see some gender-equity progress being made. I had the opportunity to meet and listen to Lauren Gropper, the founder and CEO of Repurpose, a start-up bioplastics products company, at the SPC Bioplastics Converge conference early this month.

In her presentation and on their website, the following is noted:

“We are a group of passionate eco-entrepreneurs driven to positively impact the environment by changing everyday behavior. By purchasing from Repurpose, you are supporting a women-owned, sustainable company that is changing the world one cup, plate, and fork at a time.”

Gropper founded the company in 2010, and within a few years, was offering a retail line of innovative high-performance PLA-based disposable and certified compostable picnic and party wear including coffee cups, glasses, plates and cutlery—essentially offering a one-stop shop of such products.

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Today, they are manufactured at several factories via third party contract manufacturing in Taiwan and sold through over 5000 nationwide retailer stores, including: Safeway, Whole Foods, Albertsons, and Amazon. (The company did start selling to wholesale companies and still does, but found they have a unique niche in retail.)

According to Corey Scholibo, co-founder and chief marketing officer, the company has been exploring all other types of bioplastics, including all-plant-based and partially-plant-based products such as BASF’s Ecoflex compostable polyester. Meanwhile, they have developed a new line of stemless beer & wine glasses, and there are new trash bags, storage bags, square plates, and straws, made of a mixture of bioplastics, with an expected commercial launch by 2018.

Moreover, Repurpose, with an emphasis on a ‘health & wellness’ marketing approach,  is looking to expand into dishwasher-safe reusables, ranging from plates, cutlery and cups to baby and pet products such as bottles, according to Scholibo. This, while evaluating emerging bioplastics, including those discussed at the SPC Bioplastics Converge conference.

Director of supply chain Brian Chung also weighed in:

“The future of bioplastics will be the blending of materials to create not just sustainable products but better performing products. The newer resins and technologies coming on the market which Repurpose is on the cutting edge of adapting, will all be moving us in this direction which is better for the industry and the consumer.”