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Online shopping has been part of our life since the 2010s. We love the speed and convenience. We love the ‘just-got-a-gift’ feeling of boxes turning up on our doorstep. But now, it’s more than that. Due to the pandemic, e-commerce has become the choice for more consumers to purchase things and necessities to reduce human contact. The amount of plastic wrappers used to pack the goods is increasing day by day.

Environmental concern has always been a thing for Deva and the need to reduce plastic waste grew stronger when she realised how much plastics are used in the e-commerce process. The number of plastics we used to wrap and secure the packaging started worrying her. As she started thinking more about it, her worry just increased manifolds. Especially after coming across articles that came in February last year, Malaysia was named Asia’s worst plastic polluters.

Although there are many areas to be covered in order to stop or reduce single-use plastic pollution and that cannot be achieved by an individual’s effort, Deva wanted to do something impactful to combat this problem. Therefore, in 2019, she started to research sustainable alternates for the plastic packaging we used for e-commerce.

After more than a year of R&D, she and her siblings found out about compostable packaging and how compostable parcel can make significant changes in businesses. They started talking with manufacturers and successfully created their compostable e-commerce packaging. Thus, StartPack is born.

Sold by Deva’s company, Startachi, the StartPack Compostable Package is a parcel satchel that can fully break down within 180 days and it’s made from plant-based materials like cornstarch and PBAT (a copolymer that’s flexible and easily broken down).

To properly dispose of it, they advise customers to cut the package into small pieces before putting it into a compost bin. Of course, it can break down in a landfill even if it ends up there, though it takes much longer—about 2 to 3 years—to do so.

An eco-friendly parcel packaging sounds like a great idea for consumers and businesses alike. However, it comes at a high cost that businesses may not be willing to hop on to so quickly.

Because the StartPack’s material breaks down, it can only be stored for up to 10-12 months in a dark and cool environment. A set of 50 for StartPack’s satchels costs RM52.20. Compare that to Poslaju’s M Size ones, which share the almost same size, sellers could get the same amount for just RM11.

Deva explained that regular plastics are cheaper because of their high demand in various sectors. It’s also easy to mass-produce and cheaper too. Whereas compostable packaging has not been adopted by many. Deva believes that the price for compostable and sustainable packaging would eventually fall when big companies start adopting it.

As of now, Startachi’s customers comprise small sellers on Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy. The company is taking extra steps to introduce StartPack to bigger businesses in making the switch.

As Malaysia lacks the facilities to manufacture such products, bulk orders are outsourced from Australia for now. To offset carbon emissions from shipping, Deva is funding climate projects involved in forestry and renewable energies. However, the team is already in discussions with a few local companies to manufacture the compostable parcel satchels here.

Startachi has joined ZOM-IN.com to collaborate in efforts to empower aspiring youths. Join us now at www.zom-in.com to participate in exciting events coming soon!


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