While was browsing through a World Economic Forum (WEF) report on the future of the plastics sector, Nuha Siddiqui, Co-founder and CEO of Ecopackers, came across a prediction. “It read that by 2050, there would be more plastic than fish in the ocean,” Siddiqui recollects.
In 2016, Siddiqui was a second-year Rotman Commerce student at the University of Toronto. That dull estimation spurred Siddiqui to research the plastic sector and find a room where she could have an impact. Siddiqui is now heading a fast-rising startup that has raised millions of dollars in venture funding and is working with global plastic manufacturing titans to replace their plastic components with a non-toxic eco-resin.
While Ecopackers obtained its push making non-toxic, biodegradable packing peanuts—hence the name—from agricultural by-products, the corporate has since widened its focus to the large plastics sector.
The path from packing peanut-producer to plastics input-supplier was navigated with the assistance of the University of Texas’ entrepreneurship network, which is on full display this week as part of the university’s annual Entrepreneurship Week event.
Unlike other products produced from bioplastics, the biodegradable packing peanuts produced by Ecopackers did not need industrial composting and were safe enough to destroy in the backyard.
Siddiqui would even eat them in front of venture capital investors to show how safe and natural they had been compared to conventional packing peanuts made from non-biodegradable polymers like Styrofoam.