In recent years, the fashion industry has been under scrutiny for its contribution to environmental pollution, with the global textile waste problem being one of the main concerns. Estonian startup Low imPACK has developed a solution that could help stop global textile waste.
Founded in 2022, Low imPACK’s mission is to give worn clothes a new purpose in packaging. The company has invented a unique packaging material made from mixed textiles of organic and synthetic materials. The packaging material resembles cardboard, hence is rigid and durable with a distinctive texture and luxurious hand feel.
The packaging material was born after years of research and laboratory testings at TalTech university’s master’s program by Liis Tiisvelt, the founder and CTO of Low imPACK. The material has received recognition for its innovative approach to sustainable packaging and its potential to reduce waste and environmental harm.
Competing with cellulose-based cardboard
Low imPACK’s packaging material challenges the traditional use of carton in branded and product packaging areas. In e-commerce, Low imPACK aims to make it possible for e-retailers and consumers to switch from single-use packaging to reusable, significantly reducing the amount of packaging waste generated by e-commerce.
Low imPACK’s material has high tear resistance and is more durable than conventional cardboard. The new material has been already used for e-commerce packaging by the telecom company Telia and Estonia’s largest department store Tallinna Kaubamaja. Low imPACK has also joined Tango’s return system to recollect used packages. After scanning the QR code on the package, the consumer has to drop the empty packet in Tango’s return box, which is located next to Smartpost Itella parcel lockers, covering all the country. Every return will be rewarded with 2 euros, credited to the returner’s bank account. Smoothly and digitally, as the Estonian way is.
The company’s initial goal was to produce packages that could last up to 10 deliveries, but after a few months of real-life testing, it turned out that the purpose was underestimated. Even a 20-times used box looked like new and was ready for the next delivery cycles. Low imPACK plans to further improve the material’s durability and moisture resistance to reduce its environmental footprint and increase profitability.
Low imPACK’s product range is already broad, offering boxes, envelopes and reusable bags in any imaginable size. The company could even produce certain types of industrial packaging, replacing the traditional veneer, to provide an alternative to tackle the deepening deficit in the wood industry.
Branded packaging for Dior
The fashion industry is known for its responsibility for a large amount of waste and pollution, with fast fashion contributing significantly to the problem. However, environmental impact, customers’ demand, brand image and saving costs are pressuring fashion brands to switch to sustainable packaging.
As fashion brands already recognise the importance of sustainable packaging for their products, Low imPACK’s second business line is branded packaging to serve global brands with sustainable solutions. Sustainable packaging can help reduce the impact of fast fashion by using materials that are eco-friendly and biodegradable, reducing waste and pollution.
Liis Tiisvelt has the guts to start conquering the fashion brands’ packaging market from the market leaders like Dior. She admits that leading fashion brands are more interested in meeting customer expectations while complying with strict EU regulations for EPR (Extended Producer’s Responsibility). Recycled and environmentally conscious packaging is necessary to maintain its brand image as a socially responsible and environmentally conscious company.
€5M funding needed to expand production
Low imPACK’s innovative solution to global textile waste is a step toward sustainable packaging. The company’s focus on durability and reusability in packaging design is a prime example of how businesses can contribute to the circular economy and reduce waste.
Low imPACK has three production sites in Southern Estonia: Viljandi, Tartu and Põlva. The startup is currently looking for funding of €5M to further improve and expand package production.