Tanbark – Green in Every Way

April 20, 2024 | Featured Clients

Tanbark Packaging

Tanbark sustainable packaging reduces the use of single source plastics

Tanbark was born at an intersection. Literally and figuratively. Melissa LaCasse was driving in Westbrook, Maine, listening to On Being with Krista Tippett when the words, “What kind of an ancestor do you want to be?” synced up perfectly with a junction in the road. She decided then and there to turn her climate grief into action – and to leverage her family’s experience and expertise in molded fiber to help replace single-use plastic, which is plaguing our earth.

Tanbark packaging for Luke's Lobster

Tanbark & Luke’s Lobster partnering for greener packaging and reduction of single source plastics

Today, Tanbark creates sustainable, recyclable, and home compostable packaging using molded fiber made from trees to give businesses of all sizes across industry (medical device, electronics, beauty, etc.) a viable alternative to single-use plastic. With its first-to-market technology and affordable tooling, Tanbark accommodates custom small- and medium- volume runs with the ability to scale as its customers grow to create impact.

Maine’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, including MTI, has played a huge role in Tanbark’s success to date. MTI most recently approved more than $2 million in financing for Tanbark to purchase equipment and grow its team.

“MTI has been with us from the beginning, providing funding, leadership, and innovative thinking,” said Melissa. “Replacing single-use plastic is a massive effort that requires massive collaboration…support from organizations like MTI is essential to our mission of replacing plastic that is harming our planet and our health.”

Photo Credit: Tim Greenway
Melissa LaCasse, CEO of Tanbark

“We’re on pace to have more plastic than fish in the water by 2050, and plastic packaging accounts for 50% of all global plastic waste,” said Melissa. “Solutions are here, and it’s time to drive change. Packaging is an impactful place to start. We’re fortunate that MTI gets this and is onboard with us because we’re stronger together.”

More good news for the earth – in addition to reducing plastic – Tanbark harvests smaller undergrowth trees to source its wood pulp, allowing more mature trees to reach size and increase carbon capture over time. A forest managed in this manner captures as much carbon as a natural forest.

Type 3 molded fiber resembles thermoformed plastic without the toxicity and can be colored, textured, embossed with exquisite designs, and formed into intricate shapes and contours. It’s a versatile and viable solution to single-use plastic that catches the eye, delivers a positive custom experience, advances business – and is good for the planet.

“The reality is, doing good for the environment is what drove us to start Tanbark,” said Melissa. “We had the know-how to make a difference…and, therefore, felt a responsibility. It’s a grind every day, but we’re motivated by our desire to drive real change. And with partners like MTI, we’re helping to create a better world.”