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SPC Sustainable Packaging Start-Up Challenges

2020 Challenge:

The Protective Packaging Design Challenge



Associate Partner:

The problem: 

Protective packaging is critical to ensure the safe and secure transport of goods. However, there are trade-offs in terms of environmental and economic performance. Protective packaging should prevent damage to the product during transport, while also performing well across a range of other sustainability criteria, however this type of packaging does not often perform well in terms of both performance and broader sustainability. 

Reflecting the primary need to protect the product, oftentimes protective packaging relies on excessive quantity of material  or use of bulky material, use of material that is not easily recyclable, or use of material that comes from unsustainable sources, which creates negative environmental impacts.  The use of protective packaging is growing with the rise of e-commerce, amplifying these challenges. More now than ever, end consumers directly see protective packaging and often feel inconvenienced when products are damaged, or when they must dispose of packaging material. Novel protective packaging solutions are needed that perform optimally across a robust set of considerations.

The Design Challenge

Identify innovations in protective packaging materials and systems that embody excellence in the following sustainable packaging pillars:

  • Responsible sourcing, such as the use of recycled materials or responsibly sourced, renewable materials
  • Optimized and efficient use of materials
  • Recoverability: e.g. Recyclability, reusability or compostability.  Note –  Compostable packaging is best suited for specific, targeted applications. Applications using compostable packaging should be explained and justified
  • Overall life cycle environmental impacts of the package or package system
  • Market feasibility, including cost and performance in product protection across different product types (e.g. electronics, liquids, hard goods)

Maximum points will be awarded to innovations that perform well across multiple sustainable packaging pillars. 


We will only consider applicants at the stage where they have at least prototypes in market testing-phase.


A group of up to five finalists will be selected to attend SPC Impact 2020 where they will present on the main stage in front of a large audience of 600 + brands and packaging suppliers. 

All finalists will receive 

  • The opportunity to present on the main stage at SPC Impact 2020 during a dedicated showcase to SPC’s member audience of over 350 brands and packaging suppliers as well as invited impact investors
  • Complimentary tickets to attend all of SPC Impact, a value of $1,750 per ticket (limit of 2 per team)
  • Expenses to attend SPC Impact,  including travel expenses for up to $750  per person and per diem towards additional expenses for 3 days  (limit of 2 people per team)
  • Printed signage onsite at SPC Impact 
  • Networking opportunities
  • Feedback from the Challenge judges,  partners and advisors
  • A trophy and photoshoot following the Showcase event at SPC Impact
  • Featured communications in SPC newsletters, website and social media with two dedicated press releases
  • Featured communications  by SPC’s Challenge Partners  

Three finalists will receive 

  • 1 year of SPC membership, a value of  $2,750
  • Additional promotion by SPC’s Challenge Partners




Nominations opening soon. Check back for more information. 


2019 Challenge:

FlexPack Recovery Challenge


Read more about our FlexPack Recovery Challenge and the winner, ReNew ELP.


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