Ecopapel: Biodegradable and Reusable Paper-based Food Packaging as an Alternative to Plastics

ISC3 Start-up of the Month: June 2023

21.06.2023 - Colombia-based company Cali Food Papers started with new product line named Ecopapel that offers biodegradable, compostable and recyclable paper- and cardboard-based packaging for food.

Ecopapel products are made of renewable raw materials and certified for food contact. They strive to eliminate highly polluting materials and substances that have a negative impact on the environment such as plastics, aluminium foil, or paraffin by offering sustainable alternatives. Furthermore, with Ecopapel, the company began to collaborate on an industrial ecosystem with other packaging converters, paper manufacturers, and raw material suppliers to produce paper from industrial waste. For this reason, the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) features Ecopapel as the ISC3 Start-up of the Month for June 2023.

Ecopapel food papers are biodegradable and compostable, and can be disposed of in organic waste, compared to oxoplastics or bioplastics, whose biodegradability in real environmental context is still being under discussion. Ecopapel applies new technologies developed around the world to increase the resistance of paper and cardboard to grease and moisture, and to reduce oxygen transfer. Furthermore, Ecopapel materials allow the reduction in the use of inputs for cooking, such as grease, oils and release agents, that are the main water pollutants. At the same time, Ecopapel materials also reduce washing cycles and contribute to cleaner and more hygienic environments.

The whole success story of the ISC3 Start-up of the Month in June 2023 is currently told by the ISC3 on its website at

Three questions for Manuel Rivera, Marketing and Product Design Manager, Ecopapel:

What led to your solution in Sustainable Chemistry?

Manuel Rivera: The demand for paper as a biodegradable and recyclable material increases every year. However, the industry's supply is scarce. This supply deficit is due to two factors: production capacity and pulp supply. In addition, in June 2022 the Colombian Senate passed a bill to regulate the use of single-use, non-reusable plastic. All these facts led our company to focus on sustainability and offer packaging and utensils made from renewable raw materials that also meet the necessary requirements for food packaging.

What does being chosen as ISC3 Start-up of the Month mean to you?

M. Rivera: Being chosen as ISC3 Start-up of the Month means a great deal to us. It provides Ecopapel with the opportunity to showcase the global impact of our work and raise awareness about the importance we place on environmental conservation. It also opens doors to connecting with new individuals and potential partners who can contribute to our future plans. This recognition serves as a valuable platform for us to expand our reach and create meaningful collaborations in our journey towards a sustainable future.

What’s next up at Ecopapel?

M. Rivera: We are currently looking for stakeholders investing in an environmentally sustainable industrial paper mill, capable of sourcing diverse biomass sources. The objective is to become a relevant player in supplying the demand for paper and cardboard packaging for products and food in Colombia, Central and South America, replacing single-use plastics, as well as fulfilling various paper needs in the market.


International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre ISC3

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