Envalior works with start up DiFOLD to help create an award-winning reusable and recyclable water bottle

Founded in 2018, the sustainably-focused startup DiFOLD has been on a mission to create foldable reusable products that will reduce the environmental impact of packaging waste. The startup chose Envalior Engineering Material’s Arnitel® Eco – a bio-based thermoplastic copolyester – for its flagship Origami Bottle. In 2022 the foldable water bottle won the German Sustainability Award (GSA) Design. 

Developed to replace single-use plastic bottles and made of Envalior’ Arnitel® Eco, DiFOLD’s Origami Bottle is sleek, sturdy, durable and sustainable. Arnitel Eco is a bio-based thermoplastic copolyester (TPE) that delivers high performance with low environmental impact. The plant-based material is partially made from rapeseed oil, which reduces the materials’ Cradle-To-Gate CO2 emissions, delivering a carbon footprint reduction of up to 50% compared to traditional copolyesters.

Fitting well with the startup’s sustainability strategy, to minimize the impact of packaging on the environment by making the bottle reusable, Arnitel® Eco can be recycled. This is essential in helping DiFOLD meet its goal of creating a closed-loop recycling system for its products.

On a mission to decrease plastic waste and bring refillable products to the masses

Founded in 2018 by Radina Popova and Petar Zaharinov, DiFOLD owns a utility patented for its collapsible design technology, which consists of geometric pattern models that enable tubular volumes to become flat, occupying less than 10% of their initial volume, while offering amazing stability when unfolded. Representing one of these designs, the Origami Bottle is the first step of DiFOLD’s mission—to spread reuse and pave the way for other foldable products. For future products, DiFOLD’s goal is to introduce them on a larger scale as refillable foldable containers for zero-waste shopping.

“Everyone knows single use plastic waste is a big problem and packaging is a big contributor to this issue,” explains Popova. “We saw the opportunity in developing reusable collapsible bottles and other foldable containers for reuse. When bringing refillable products to the masses, they need to be convenient for end users to be adopted at scale, while also efficient for reverse-logistics in deposit schemes. We created the Origami Bottle, our flagship product, as a first representation of our vision to democratize reuse. It is lightweight, easy to fold and carry when empty, making the reuse experience of refilling water fun and hassle free.”

A bio-based recyclable material that is the perfect fit for the DiFOLD Bottle

When it came to finding the proper material solution for the bottle, circularity and durability were a must.

“We wanted a biobased material that can be recycled, along with appropriate mechanical properties required for the folding design,” explains Zaharinov. “We also wanted a material that can withstand hot liquids. We tested the material in a lab at 100°C and it performed well. Not to mention, Arnitel® Eco doesn’t absorb the smells or tastes of liquids.”

Besides suppling Arnitel® Eco to DiFOLD, Envalior provided DiFOLD with sustainability, technical and regulatory services.

“We are glad that with our services and materials we could help DiFOLD in their mission to minimize the impact of packaging on the environment, which is a topic also close to our heart,” says Pim Janssen, Marketing Manager for Food contact, Water contact and Appliances markets at Envalior. “Arnitel Eco, a bio-based thermoplastic copolyester (TPE) with lower environmental impact, is food contact approved and has a good balance in flexibility and creep over a wide temperature range.”

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Candace Roulo

Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development

Candace Roulo is Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development for Envalior. Based in Troy, Michigan, she specializes in writing blogs and articles about advanced materials solutions. Prior to joining Envalior, Candace served in editorial roles at SME and Penton Media. Candace earned her bachelor’s degree in communication, specializing in public relations, at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Published on

15 March 2023


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