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About Elevate Packaging


Rich Cohen - Elevate PackagingGreetings Everyone! I'm Rich Cohen, the trailblazer behind Elevate Packaging, established back in 2000.

The journey began with an enlightening year-long sabbatical in 1999 following more than ten years in corporate strategy and technology innovation. While traveling, I stumbled upon natural papers produced entirely from invasive plant species like mulberry, water hyacinth, and manila hemp. It struck me as an ingenious concept: combating nuisance plants in ecosystems and harnessing their biomass to create tree-free biodegradable paper.

As a strategist and computer scientist at a Fortune 500 firm, my professional background didn't dwell in materials science or packaging. Nevertheless, my love and passion for the great outdoors, nature, high-altitude climbing, and trail running motivated me to channel my career and enthusiasm into a mission to make the world cleaner and better for generations to come.

As an avid trail runner, hiker and climber, the sight of plastic littering even the most remote corners of our planet was profoundly disheartening and sad. The pervasive plastic waste, its exponential growth, and the absence of sustainable packaging alternatives for conscientious companies and brands drove me to take action to pioneer the creation of the first exclusively-sustainable packaging company. In 2000, it was evident to me that plastic posed a dire environmental threat; it wasn't vanishing, and its waste was mounting. Worse still, the market was far away from any viable sustainable packaging options, leaving businesses with no better alternatives, even if they wished to choose a more responsible path.

Challenges and Innovations in Sustainable Packaging

The initial years were extremely challenging! During the first decade of pursuing our mission to eliminate plastic waste and create a healthier planet, I dedicated myself to engineering, designing, and investing into numerous revolutionary and innovative compostable packaging solutions.

These innovative solutions encompassed every facet of packaging and material science, from resins and films to adhesives and coatings. Pioneering a new wave of compostable packaging solutions was an arduous task, as it demanded performance on par with, or superior to, conventional petroleum-based plastic packaging. For example, imagine hermetically sealed coffee bags with robust oxygen and moisture barriers — we've even developed compostable versions of these!

Compostable Custom Printed Pouches

Elevate Packaging established the hard-earned reputation as the industry pioneer in commercializing novel compostable packaging solutions, and this is ingrained in our DNA as our core values and ability to swiftly create and advance cutting-edge solutions.

By 2007 we achieved a significant and exciting breakthrough! Using our natural hemp paper, we developed a compostable pressure-sensitive adhesive label. Imagine a world where the PLU stickers adorning bananas, oranges and apples could be composted along with the peel! Yes, these certified compostable stickers could now be composted without painstakingly peeling them off!

We conducted the ASTM D6400 tests and secured BPI certification for these label stickers, which was just the beginning of our commitment to pioneering the development of numerous other compostable products.

Compost Awareness Week Compostable Sticker

Ongoing Mission and Environmental Commitment

Today, Elevate Packaging provides all companies, no matter how big or small, the easiest and most convenient way to get a huge array of compostable packaging solutions (and helps get them composted too) that makes it simple to utterly eliminate the need for petro-plastics. Whether it's compostable coffee bags, cannabis packaging, specialty food packaging, restaurant packaging, or e-commerce shipping supplies, we've left no stone unturned. Wherever a plastic product exists, we are driven to help our loyal business clients with compostable alternatives that perform without compromise.

At Elevate, we remain steadfastly committed to that same original mission forged in 1999. Our unwavering dedication is seared into our mission statement: "Eliminate Plastic Waste and Create a Healthy Planet." We are environmentalists first. Our mission is not about 'selling more packaging'; it's about minimizing the environmental and health impact of the production of petroleum-based plastic that has persisted for over a century.

Compostable Pouch biodegrading in compost

The Circular Economy and Addressing the Plastic Crisis

Recent studies have underscored that a mere 5% of plastic gets recycled (as per the EPA). Coupled with the looming climate crisis, the world is in dire need of a solution to break free from petro-plastics. This is where our focus lies — on packaging that actually gets composted.

In collaboration with the Compost Stewardship Institute (CSI), we've embarked on a remarkable take-back program. It meticulously collects and sorts all the packaging from our clients, ensuring it's safely composted. This is the circular economy in action today, a working solution that not only benefits the environment but also fuels the growth and profitability of composting.

Our mission is clear: enable brands to attain their sustainability goals, divert waste from landfills, eliminate unnecessary petro-plastics, and wholeheartedly support the composting community. We're here to catalyze change, and if you're interested or just curious, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Together, we can make a difference!

Rich Cohen,
President and Founder
Elevate Packaging
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