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Key Insights on Repackaging The Future


Greater Cincinnati startup catalyst and syndicate fund, Cintrifuse recently hosted a webinar on the future of packaging, a high-growth innovation space pushing not only the sustainable boundaries of material science but also the digital frontiers of radical transparency and multi-sensory experiences.  Four industry experts – two startup founders, a global design expert, and a “future of packaging” fund manager – joined CEO Pete Blackshaw for a spirited and timely conversation. 

Full Session Video Recap: Click Here | 10 Minute Video Version: Click Here | Download and Print PDF: Click Here

  • Hard to Ignore Signals: The packaging space, prodded by consumer and regulatory pressure, has picked up significant momentum in recent months.  Sustainability is a key driver. 
  • BigCo Opportunity: There is tremendous potential for companies willing to go big and make it a focal point of selling. “There is a future where product functionality and sustainability can co-exist.”
  • Beyond Just Recycling: Recycling is an important solution, but much of the untapped value resides in the so-called “ables” – refillable, compostable, returnable.
  • Full-Cycle Systems:  It’s critical to understand where the packaging ends up.  Will it truly biodegrade, and over how long a period?  Is there an opportunity to create full-cycle systems?
  • Measuring Carbon Footprints: Aided by blockchain, there are opportunities to aggregate carbon footprints through data collection and transparency. There are many opportunities for startups.
  • New Frontier of Storytelling: Storytelling is more important than ever, but it must be “verified.” The key is to get the consumer more involved in the product.  Greenwashing remains a big watch-out 


Cintrifuse Membership: We provide coaching, connections, research and marketing support, and access to BigCos and customers in need of green solutions. Visit Cintrifuse.com.

Sustainable Cincy Accelerator:  Join the Fall cohort of the Sustainable Cincy accelerator led by Flywheel Social Accelerator in partnership with HCDC and Cintrifuse: Visit FlyWheelCincinnati.org.

Entrepreneurial Space:  If you need a high-energy co-working environment, we have 38,000 sq ft of space in one of the nation’s most vibrant, historic, and diverse neighborhoods. Visit UnionHallCincy.com


“My background is industrial design. We think about this constantly. The sustainability need has grown exponentially – especially in the past six months or so. We’ve had a massive generation of single use, and people are now thinking about circular lifestyle.” –  Elyse Dierking, Strategy Director, LPK

“I spent a decade overseas in Asia, doing contract manufacturing, specifically molded fiber packaging. I worked with CEOs of global packaging companies. The big issue is where the product ends up.  Compostable products are more popular than ever, but consumers lack education and awareness about what to do with them.“ – Nate Sedgwick, Founder Cincinnati-based, Responsible Products

“One of the biggest things that blockchain solves is long term accountability, and the concept of data democratization. It offers a secure and tamper proof way of capturing information, with its full history, and the ability to share that data without revealing the source.  I grew up in South Africa, working in a mining and agriculture family so we really learned a lot about the first part of the supply chain.” – Kim Raath, Founder & CEO of Topl (Part of Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund Network)

“The opportunity is tremendous.  I’m an industrial designer (formerly Coca-Cola) and study packaging. I want to figure out a way to support founders, with capital, who are working in climate specifically to address the climate crisis and the plastic crisis.” – Carie Davis, Founder, General Partner of Futureproof

“All of this elevates the importance of storytelling. It’s not revolutionary to say that this could move to digital. On the flip side this could be about using that packaging in new ways. Sustainable packaging can open new avenues to tell those stories and create a new experience for the consumer that may be totally different from something they’ve experienced before.” – Elyse Dierking, Strategy Director, LPK

“We actually avoid the term biodegradable, because basically anything is probably degradable over a long enough timespan right and when you are saying that you’re certified compost or something’s compostable that’s been done in a controlled environment, over a certain time span and it meets certain qualifications, so we try to qualify that.” – Nate Sedgwick, Founder & CEO of Responsible Products

“When the coffee makes it to us as a consumer, there’s actually a QR code on the package that’s specific to that batch, verifying the origin of that story going all the way back to the original farmer, so now for the first time, we can truly see living wage farming, from bean to brew.” – Kim Raath, Founder & CEO of Topl 

“When it makes it to us as a consumer, there’s actually a QR code on the photo that’s specific to that batch verify the origin of that story and it goes all the way back to the original farmer so now for the first time, we can truly see living wage farming, from day to grew and as a brand when I actually you know want to Starbucks when I buy from this the local coffee.” – Kim Raath, Founder & CEO of Topl 

“We’re working with a lot of restaurants.  90% are committed to making the switch to an eco-friendly alternative. We don’t want to be another eco-friendly packaging company that sells it to the wholesale distributors that sells it to a local distributor that ultimately ends up in the landfill.  We deliver our compostable packaging directly to the restaurant. We also have started a program where we collect the product after it’s finished.” – Nate Sedgwick, Founder & CEO of Responsible Products

“Having products that are going to require a lot of complexity or behavior change isn’t necessarily the answer, I think that we have brilliant minds and companies with tons of resources that when working together can actually design something that’s elegant and is actually, you know, genuinely circular and in execution that’s not going to confuse people.” – Carie Davis,  General Partner of Futureproof