Get to know S.Lab - Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator

May 23, 2023

Julia Bialetska (CEO) | Eugene Tomilin (CTO)

S.Lab strives for a world without single-use plastics by providing green packaging alternatives made from plant-based components.

01. Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to  mediate (and precise the UN SDG-s you are solving). 

We tackle the problem of single use packaging that lasts for hundreds of years when products in it might be in use just for a few minutes, therefore addressing SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) ans SDG 12 (Sustainable consumption and production)

Let’s take polystyrene/styrofoam. There is no recycling of it and every single unit that was ever produced out of polystyrene still remains somewhere in landfills, pollutes soils, oceans and even our bodies. Producers live under the pressure of sustainability regulations, green transition policies and customers choice where ecological packaging is a must. They are desperately looking for alternative materials to replace polystyrene. 

That’s why we created S.Lab where we produce a truly green packaging that consists of only 2 plant based components which are hemp and mycelium. When we mix those two together mushroom roots start to bind or to glue everything together and we get a very strong and reliable material.  It’s a natural replacement of polystyrene and has application in various industries, like cushioning for beauty and selfcare, lodgements for electronics and devices, thermally insulating boxes for food and pharmaceutics, packaging for shoes, clothes, decor and many other.  

S.Lab packaging is 100% biodegradable - after the usage it can be thrown with the rest of garbage and it will fully decompose in just 30 days. To produce such packaging we are building an automated production line using our own technology and we are getting patents for it. It’s a closed loop, energy and water efficient production.  And to go even further and have real exposure of the green packaging we have unlocked scalability with a simple solution where we optimize the production line and fit it to the mini factory placed in the 40 foot container. Such containers can be set up at the customers premises and that’s where packaging is produced. This way we ensure availability of natural alternatives around the world.

02. How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be? 

It all started with a dream where we really wanted to replace harmful plastic materials that are used everywhere. Julia and Eugene (co-founders) traveled to Bali - the paradise island in Indonesia, but together with the extraordinary beauty of nature we saw gigantic amounts of plastic waste that came to the beach from the ocean. 

That was such an awful picture to see that the founders started to read all the articles, watch any available videos, check all the research on this topic and came up with the idea of an absolutely natural and 100% biodegradable replacement of polystyrene.

03. Why did you choose to participate in the Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator program?  

We believe in the power of network and synergy that help to move much faster and make such a needed change in the world efficiently. With Techstars Sustainability Paris program we aim to gain mentorship, access to the network of alumni and to have a dedicated team to help us accelerate. 

04. What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with  your company? 

Since day 1 we decided that we want to turn green packaging to industrial scale business and focus on the technology that will allow us to have global exposure and to really replace significant amounts of the plastic and polystyrene to have an effect on nature. This is our mission, or we are proud of it!

05. How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your  company in the next 5 years? 

We developed 3 impact indicators that we track and measure positive environmental effect: 

  1. Amount of CO2 reduced 

  2. Amount of water saved 

  3. Square meters of the landfills free from polystyrene 

On all of those indicators we compare our impact to the polystyrene producers. Production of 1 kg of polystyrene leads to 8 kg of CO2 emissions, requires 12 liters of water and all of it is dumped into the environment. S.lab packaging leads to 90% less CO2 emissions, requires 90% less water and will never end up in the landfills. 

Overall positive impact could be as high as a reduction of 12 mln tons of CO2 emissions every year and 20 mln decaliters of water every year.

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