Replacing virgin plastic with recyclable materials is one of the biggest challenges on the road to greater sustainability. A newly developed material, Camm by Camm Solutions, is said to succeed for the first time in retaining all the positive functions of plastic and deleting the negative ones. “The material is a breakthrough. It can be made into just about any shape and function, and at the end of its life cycle it dissolves in water without leaving any residue,” says Christoph Bertsch, co-founder of Camm Solutions.
Around 80 percent of the nearly nine billion tons of plastic produced worldwide to date are still stored in landfills or litter the environment, and only nine percent has been fully recycled. Each year, about 400 million tons of plastic are added to that total. “With a waste rate of 80 percent, 320 million tons of these end up in the environment,” says Nanda Bergstein, Chief Sustainability & Innovation Officer. “So we need to replace as much conventional plastic as possible.” The camm material creates a holistic and scalable solution to this task.
The patented blend of environmentally friendly materials, initially combined with paper, is durable, robust and can be used just like plastic for packaging food and non-food goods, it says. The packaging can go into the paper garbage can and thus end up in paper recycling. By adding water in the paper dissolution process, the camm material quickly breaks down into its original building blocks: oxygen, carbon and biomass, the company says. The remaining paper fibers are used entirely to make new paper. “The key thing is that camm leaves no nano- or microplastics behind,” Bergstein says. “No residue at all is left behind.”
The material was developed by Camm Solutions. The company was founded by German entrepreneur Christoph Bertsch, Thomas O. Staggs, former COO/CFO of the Walt Disney Company, and Michael Muller, an environmentalist and photographer. The camm material will initially be used in conjunction with paper or cardboard in the packaging sector, for example in composite food packaging, frozen food packaging or bubble wrap.
Tchibo is one of the partners
One of Camm Solutions’ R&D partners is Tchibo. As one of Germany’s largest retailers and one of the largest coffee roasters in the world, the company has set itself the goal of operating 100 percent sustainably. Since 2007, Tchibo has been developing solutions to achieve this goal. “Camm is an innovation capable of making a real contribution to our mission by paving the way to various credible and commercially viable solutions for composite packaging and certain other plastics,” says Tchibo Director Hamid Dastmalchian.