The collaborative journey between Studio Nima and Alara Ertenü has been an innovative explorative process over the past several months. Our joint efforts turned into Naturelink, an innovative bio-composite with a bold vision of providing a home-compostable, drop-in alternative to plastic-based packaging. The motivation behind it is addressing the global socio-environmental challenges of toxic agricultural waste and plastic packaging pollution.

Naturelink evolved from Packioli, Alara’s previous research project that focused on transforming agricultural waste into bioplastics. The process leveraged the high waste masses of artichoke production and its synergies with alginate to create a plastic-like material. In August 2023, the EU-funded WORTH Partnership Project, which aims to foster disruptive collaborations, selected Alara’s Packioli to join forces with Studio Nima for its 10 month-programme. The aim of the project is to develop an innovative sustainable product with a commercialisation focus by combining the experience of established companies with the creativity of designers.

Alara’s journey as an impact entrepreneur and material designer spans over two years, during which she has dedicated herself to researching bio-based materials. Her innovative work has been showcased in prestigious design exhibitions and publications, marking her an active member in the sector. Partnering with Alara, Studio Nima brings a wealth of experience in advising impact-driven ventures, offering invaluable business insights and circular economy expertise to the table.

Naturelink emerges as a sustainable solution to the environmental hazards posed by fossil-based plastics. By harnessing agricultural waste, such as corn, Naturelink aims to develop a competitive biomaterial with home-compostability at its core. This approach not only mitigates the reliance on finite fossil resources but also provides a sustainable end-of-life solution to agricultural corn waste in Turkey, offering a greener alternative to conventional incineration methods.

The cosmetics and personal care sector, driven by a growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions, presents a promising early market opportunity for Naturelink. Its innovative features align with the industry’s shifting priorities, positioning it as a promising solution in the quest for eco-friendly packaging alternatives.

Naturelink is now preparing for the next phase of research and development, where we will continue to push the boundaries of innovation and sustainability, by designing a streamlined pilot system of our compounding process.