Corporate Innovation/News/ Sulapac raises €15m, begins mass rollout of biodegradable straws A mojito-proof compostable straw will finally be rolled out to consumers and Sulapac has raised €15m to expand its plastic alternative to other categories, too. By Maija Palmer 11 December 2019 Finnish packaging startup Sulapc's compostable straws Finnish packaging startup Sulapc's compostable straws \Sustainability Six carbon capture startups and scaleups to watch By Sifted 22 August 2022 Corporate Innovation/News/ Sulapac raises €15m, begins mass rollout of biodegradable straws A mojito-proof compostable straw will finally be rolled out to consumers and Sulapac has raised €15m to expand its plastic alternative to other categories, too. By Maija Palmer 11 December 2019 It is the end of the line, finally, for the plastic straw, as the rollout of a fully biodegradable alternative — which can pass the “mojito test” without going soggy — begins today from Sulapac, a Finnish biomaterials startup and Stora Enso, the Nordic pulp and paper company. The straws will start appearing in places like Finnair’s airport lounges, vegan cafe Kippo and with any drinks delivered by Finnish food delivery company Wolt. From January they can also be bought directly by consumers through online stores such as Biofutura.com and Verkkokauppa.com. Passing the “mojito test” was a key criterion for development. Although various straw alternatives, from paper to metal, are available, Suvi Haimi, Sulapac’s cofounder and chief executive, says that their straw comes close to mimicking the properties of plastic. The wood fibre-based material doesn’t go soggy the way that paper straws do. In fact, passing Haimi’s so-called “mojito test” — able to be used to drink several cocktails — was a key criterion for development. “Sustainability is important but you can’t change the world by just focusing on that. You also need to make it a great customer experience,” says Haimi, who often demonstrates the product prototype on stage with a drink as a prop. Sulapac was founded in 2016 by Suvi Haimi and Laura Kyllönen Haimi says the company has been through “100s of recipes” to create a material that can fulfil the many different requirements: composting as fast as a leaf or piece of wood while being food safe and able to be mass-produced. Sulapac’s material can be used in the same machines that extrude plastic, keeping costs down. Haimi says the cost of its straws is similar to that of paper straws, although it is three times more than the plastic version. Straws are only the beginning, she says. They serve as a showcase for what Sulapac can do, proving that it is possible to mass-produce a replacement for one of the cheapest throwaway plastic items. “Straws are just an introduction to our portfolio,” says Haimi, who has plans to produce alternatives to a whole range of other plastic items. Sulapac has already been working with companies such as Chanel, Lumene and Naviter to produce fully compostable cosmetics containers, and recently worked with Finnish chocolate-maker Fazer to make a biodegradable box for its premium chocolates. Other product categories might include clothes hangers and a range of other jars, as well as flexible packaging. It took 18 months to develop the packaging for Fazer, says Haimi. To help fund the global rollout and further product development, Sulapac has raised a €15m Series-A financing round from investors including Chanel, Mousse Partners, Sky Ocean Ventures, Bonnier Ventures and Lifeline Ventures. It has also brought in some big-hitter advisors, including Sophia Bendz, who was previously in charge of Spotify’s global marketing and is now a partner at venture capital firm Atomico. Related Articles Startups making a move into the plastic alternatives market By Maija Palmer Click here to read more Science tech just got a boost in the Nordics By Mimi Billing Click here to read more Being ‘impact-shamed’ on Christmas by his wife turned Denmark’s robot-king into an investor By Björn Wallenberg Click here to read more Most Read 1 \Healthtech Is Daniel Ek’s new body scanner worth the hype? Sifted tried it out 2 \Venture Capital VC diversity needs to change — and white men need to take responsibility 3 \Venture Capital New €3.75bn European Investment Fund pot to back late-stage VCs 4 \Sustainability Counteract closes £15m fund for carbon removal solutions 5 \Mobility Was the $5bn that VCs plugged into escooters worth it?