The prestigious American business magazine Red Herring has distinguished the German start-up creapaper, a portfolio company of eCAPITAL AG, with its Top 100 Europe Award. The Hennef-based company has developed a technology for the production of paper from grass. The production of the new raw material results in significantly lower CO2 emissions than conventional production. Water consumption is also reduced by over 99%. The first companies have already converted their packaging to grasspaper.
Since 1996, the American business magazine Red Herring has distinguished promising entrepreneurs and companies with the Red Herring Top 100 Award. It is one of the world’s most renowned prizes for technologically innovative start-ups and is considered as an indicator of pioneering, entrepreneurial ideas. Facebook, Skype and the Finnish game developer Supercell are just some of the companies to have received the award before their huge economic success. In 2019, the jurors decided to honour the Hennef-based company creapaper with the Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award. The victor was chosen from around 1,200 European start-up companies.
creapaper has quickly established itself as a producer of an alternative raw material for the paper and packaging industry. The company uses grass and processes it into grass pulp. This new raw material replaces pulp made from virgin fibres (wood) or recycled paper, which are normally used in paper production. The production of grasspaper results in up to 95% less CO2 emissions than conventional production (figures adjusted 2020 on the basis of new environmental values). What’s more, just two to six litres of water are required to produce a tonne of paper. Paper made from wood or recycled paper needs approx. 6,000 litres. Thanks to the creapaper innovation, no chemicals are used in the raw material production either.
This ingenious, patented technology enables creapaper to save huge amounts of resources. Despite all of the advances achieved in recent years, the paper industry is still one of the sectors with particularly high levels of energy, water and chemical consumption. The immense saving potential offered by creapaper therefore represents a true technological breakthrough. This is one of the criteria used to select the winners of the Red Herring Award. In order to receive the magazine’s prize, a company must also have already received qualified distinctions. For creapaper, these include the Start Green Award 2016, KfW Entrepreneur Award 2017 and the IKU Innovation Award for Climate and Environment in 2018.
The marketability of a development is also closely considered by the jury. creapaper was able to score points here, too. Some of the companies already using grass paper for their packaging include Coca-Cola, OTTO mail order and food discounters such as REWE, Lidl and Aldi. creapaper is currently planning its market launch in the USA and is in contact with several companies in the branded consumer goods sector, such as Starbucks and McDonalds.
The prize-giving ceremony for the Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award was held in Amsterdam at the end of February 2019. As one of the selected companies, creapaper was also chosen to present its innovative technology to interested American investors at the Top 100 North America Event in Los Angeles in May.