Every day, 2,000 garbage trucks worth of plastic are dumped into oceans, lakes and rivers worldwide. By 2060, this is likely to have tripled. But not if Yngvik has anything to say about it.
This small biotech startup has developed water-soluble plastic created from food waste – because why tackle just one major environmental issue when you can combat two?
The innovative technology was awarded Plougmann Vingtoft’s IP Matters donation in 2023.
was founded in 2022 by three participants in the 2022 OpenInnovation Circularity (a collaborative challenge for university students in Denmark): Gorm Carstensen, Catarina Schneider, and Miriam Deutschle.
Co-founder and CEO Catarina Schneider explains how, during this challenge, the three students came up with the idea for home-compostable plastic and agreed to continue developing the technology together.
“We knew right away that our technology was unique. Hardly any plastic on the market is compostable in a domestic environment. Especially in the Northern hemisphere, the climate is too cold for biodegradable plastic to compost properly. That makes our water-soluble plastic the first of its kind,” she says.
Founded in: 2022
Founded by: Gorm Carstensen, CTO (left), Catarina Schneider, CEO (middle), and Miriam Deutschle, CFO (right).
Innovation: Home-compostable and water- and soil-soluble plastic made using food waste.
UN SDGs: #9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, #12: Responsible Production and Consumption, #14: Life below Water, #15: Life on Land
Photo credits: Adam Hoxeng
Waste not, want not
Yngvik collects food waste from breweries, farms and other food and beverage manufacturers.
Through a precision fermentation process, the waste material is transformed into a plastic polymer named CAL, which can be used in the form of an adhesive or cling film for plastic packaging.
Currently, the film can substitute single-use plastic in non-food packaging applications such as construction materials and furniture. Yngvik’s plastic polymer naturally disintegrates in water and soil within a few days and leaves no plastic waste.
“My parents work in construction, and I have witnessed first-hand the amount of plastic waste from single-use plastic packaging in the industry. This problem is invisible to most people, but it is one that we and the industry are keen to address,” says Catarina Schneider.
Pressing IP matters
The three founders of Yngvik knew that patenting the technology was important, yet found themselves in the Catch 22 faced by many startups:
“We had secured some funding for product development, but we didn’t have the money for professional IP consulting, and we couldn’t start pilot projects or scale our production without a patent. We knew it was a pressing matter, and we were quite worried about it,” Catarina says.
Then they won Plougmann Vingtoft’s annual IP Matters donation of 50,000 DKK worth of IP consulting.
“It really took a load off our shoulders!” says Catarina.
Yngvik are now in the process of filing their first European patent with the help of Plougmann Vingtoft’s patent attorneys, bringing the three founders one step closer to fulfilling their vision of a petroleum-free world where there is no waste, just resources.
What is IP Matters?
Every year through to 2030, Plougmann Vingtoft will donate expert IP-consulting worth of DKK 50,000 to the Danish start-up that we consider able to influence one or several of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
With the help of the entrepreneurial network(DanBAN), we select a winner with a convincing vision for a sustainable future. A company that can make the most of our knowledge of IPR as well as our guidance in business development.
The companies that receive thehave access to a team of handpicked IP experts with specialized academic knowledge within the relevant business area.