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Ask a traceless expert #1: What is traceless?

We thought it might be a good idea to share our scientific knowledge with the world wide web to create a reliable basis in this fecund yet convoluted world of sustainability. Therefore we started a new blog series called “ask a traceless expert” and here comes the first issue: We asked our traceless co-founder Dr. Anne Lamp to tell us more about herself and traceless materials.

Anne invented the technology for traceless materials and is an ultimate pro in the matter of sustainability! Whenever we have questions regarding the topic – no matter if it is about sustainable innovation, latest news, or basic terminology - we find comfort in her scientific approach and fact-based knowledge. For us she is the mother traceless. Let's get to know her better!

Q: Hello Anne, can you tell us about yourself?

A: My name is Anne Lamp, I am the CEO and co-founder of traceless materials. I am also a process engineer and scientific researcher at the Institute for Environmental Technology and Energy Economics (IUE) at the Technical University Hamburg. I was born and live in Hamburg. I have been an active member in the Cradle-to-Cradle NGO for six years.

Q: What brought you to the idea of founding traceless?

A: During my bachelor's degree I was not quite sure how to create meaningful work and positive impact with a degree in process engineering. Holding a process engineering diploma, I would probably land jobs and end up working for companies that do not necessarily help to protect the environment – most likely the contrary. I have always been close to nature and environmentally conscious, but that was not in compliance with my career prospects.

Therefore, I started looking to find ways to make a positive impact. During my doctorate, I focussed my research on the biological cycle and started looking for alternative materials. I used agricultural residues and developed a process for a new, compostable material. This is how my training as a process engineer and my volunteer work at C2C merged into one another. This is how traceless was born.

Q: Can you please explain to us what traceless is and what it is not?

A: traceless is an innovative circular bioeconomy start-up located in Hamburg, Germany. We follow the cradle-to-cradle principle and offer a sustainable alternative material to conventional plastics and bioplastics. Let’s put it this way: traceless looks and feels like plastics without being one. Our material has many of the functional properties of plastics but is protein-based and completely degradable. To keep it short: it is based on food production residues, it is home compostable, safe for humans and the environment. It is definitely not plastics, it is not bioplastics, it is not chemically modified or synthetically polymerized, and it is not in conflict with food resources.

Q: How did you come up with the name “traceless” as the company name?

A: The name wasn’t easy to find. We had a long list of ideas which were all related to “eco”, “bio” and “green”. But these sounded all so trite and uninspiring, and they suggested to the consumer that they were behaving badly. So one of us came up with the name “traceless”, describing simply the unique property of our materials without any judgement. Because we are providing a positive solution instead of blaming people for their bad behaviour, we see people as beneficial creatures instead of harmful destroyers to the environment.

"Sustainable living shouldn't require a mindset of leaving the comfort zone."

Q: What makes traceless different from other companies, products, offers etc.?

A: In terms of sustainability, traceless materials are one step ahead of conventional bioplastics. Our materials are not only bio-based, but based on biological residues. For biodegradation, our products do not need industrial composting conditions, but degrade in the environment. In contrast to many bioplastics, traceless materials will on an industrial production scale be price competitive.

Q: You are proud of traceless being a female founded start-up. Johanna Baare is the co-founder and your partner in crime. How did you come together and how does your teamwork look like?

A: When the idea was becoming mature and the project started getting attention, I realized that I needed a permanent partner for strategy development and financing. Luckily, at that time, Johanna was available again because the start-up she worked at prior had to make savings due to Corona. She has been with us since May 2020 and we complement each other perfectly: While I am busy with technical innovation and product development, she takes over the business development. With her experience in strategy consulting and business scale-up, she has a hundred percent complementary expertise. Momentarily she lives in Copenhagen, which is why currently everything is running remotely. And yes, we are proud of being a female founded start-up and embrace it each and every day.

"My vision for traceless is to show the world that production in accordance with nature is possible"

Q: What should we expect from traceless in 2021?

A: We are extremely proud of the progress we have made in 2020. We created an amazing multidisciplinary team. We built and are still expanding our network of educational and scientific institutions, start-ups, corporate companies, and organizations. We are overwhelmed by the feedback and huge interest from industrial leaders and decision makers. And of course, we strive to keep up the good work our team has performed in 2021. Our product reached industrial maturity and our highest priority is to scale up the technology rapidly.

Q: Can you share your vision for traceless?

A: My vision for traceless is to show the world that production in accordance with nature is possible. That we can reinvent the way we produce our products and materials. That we, as human kind, can have a positive impact on the environment instead of destroying it. That we can preserve this beautiful biodiversity and colorful nature we are living in.

Q: Any last words for our readers?

A: Sustainable living should not require a mindset of leaving the comfort zone. It is not easy to break habits and adapt to the newness. Even if you are not consequent in adapting to change, never give up. Try to enjoy the process. Stay open for new alternatives. Push companies to their boundaries, force them to make the change easier to you. And keep in touch with us. Let us know of your ideas, feedback, concerns. We need your support to make the big difference!

"We need your support to make the big difference!"

Thank you Anne - now we know!

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