Paper instead of plastic
Packaging designer Ryan Gaither believes in the power of cardboard.
He's laid down a massive sheet of it – as big as a king-size bed – at the Swedish-owned BillerudKorsnäs design lab in Portland.
He flips the switch on a machine that zips around the cardboard, stabbing and cutting it with a robotic exact-o knife.
"Basically anything we create — any design we're looking to validate – we cut out with this machine," he said. "This lets us know if we're on the right track or on a fool's errand."
A growing number of campaigns to ban plastic waste are putting pressure on companies to find alternatives – not just for straws, but for all kinds of plastic packaging.
Years ago, the Swedish paper company BillerudKorsnäs acquired a Portland packaging company called Paccess. Their office in Southwest Portland is now a lab where engineers redesign packaging and test out paper products they can sell into a budding market for plastic replacements.
This story originally appeared in OPB's EarthFix, a news partner of the Portland Tribune. To read the rest of the story: