There is an undeniable importance and beneficial role that plastics have played in our everyday lives. Our lives have been made easier, safer, and cheaper in areas such as healthcare, technology, automotive and aviation. Unfortunately, in many of these sectors, the materials that have been utilised have had a significant and detrimental effect on the natural environment we live in.
This is where Futurity Manufacturing comes in.
Owned and operated in New Zealand, Futurity is on a mission to ensure that the cost of using these products and materials and their associated impact on the natural world, is reduced as much as possible.
In 2018, Co-founders Rupert Paterson and Jacob Kohn established Futurity Group which consists of Futurity Bio-ventures and Futurity Manufacturing. They set out across the two companies to pioneer new and innovative methods of producing the materials from which products are made from, how they are produced, used, and reused, or repurposed. In 2020, Leon Van Megen joined Futurity Manufacturing as CEO to help realise and implement the vision.
Van Megen says the ultimate goal is to become a world-leading bioplastic manufacturing business while remaining at the forefront of sustainable material development.
“Our founders are designers, engineers and entrepreneurs who share a close affinity with the natural environment, and are driven to protect the environment through our day-to-day actions.
“We launched Futurity Manufacturing as we want to enable the transition from using current petroleum-based materials to renewable materials.”
In 2020 the company launched New Zealand’s first 100 percent commercially compostable bottle and cap which has been widely validated by customers and end-of-life commercial compost sites. Van Megen says the team realise that their 100 percent bio-based bottle is not the silver bullet, although they see it as an interim solution for select closed-loop markets where there is the necessary end-of-life infrastructure in place.
“While developing our bottle we began to explore what materials and feedstocks could be used in New Zealand to create the products for the future, whether that is from renewable agricultural waste or forestry to serve global markets,” says Van Megen.
“This resulted in a new venture and our sister company, Futurity Bio-Ventures, which has become a globally recognised start-up in the biotechnology sector, seeking to launch New Zealand’s first biorefinery.”
Like most companies, Futurity has had its fair share of challenges since launching. Some challenges include the engineering and designing of new products while attempting to outperform petroleum-based products. Van Megen says driving communication surrounding the overarching education of the business has also been challenging. On top of this, Covid has meant adapting to a rapidly changing business landscape and government regulatory environment.
“New Zealand is in a very fortunate position right now in comparison to a lot of larger countries and economies,” says Van Megen.
“We are now seeing Australia starting to return to a new normal whereby events are taking place again and international borders are beginning to reopen. We are excited to be experiencing demand and traction for our services and product offerings and are now launching in Australia and other global markets.”
With the expertise and experience to work with clients through their product development journey, Futurity Manufacturing has established itself as the country’s leading manufacturer for technical products for both domestic and international markets.
“We aim to be producing the most high performance, cost competitive, and less impactful products from Christchurch, New Zealand while working with the most advanced and innovative companies in the world,” says Van Megen.
“We believe there is no reason why New Zealand cannot establish a stronger bioplastics manufacturing sector based on our reputation as a highly innovative nation with a highly marketable environmental background.”
The company is now working towards fulfilling necessary certifications for operating in specific global markets. The next steps is making products readily available in these global markets and working with distributors to grow Futurity’s presence globally.