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Monday, July 22, 2024

Parting with Plastic

Gilbert-based Footprint Shines Bright in Partnership with Phoenix Suns

By: Tyler Butler

Founded in 2014, Footprint – a materials science company – was created to break down barriers. The company has been creating disruption in well-established industries from its inception and is currently known for its breakthrough technology that developed high-quality sustainable alternatives to plastic and polystyrene foam. With a major focus on changing the food packaging industry to keep plastic away from our food, founders Troy Swope and Yoke Chung have worked with their teams to develop plant-based replacements for plastic and styrofoam cups, lids, frozen food trays, produce cartons, quick-service clamshells, and much more.

For years, Footprint focused on the supermarket industry, solving  issues like keeping food fresh on shelves or in the freezer case. Today, Footprint has created even more turnkey solutions for supermarkets, building on the learnings of its first projects to scale and maximize impact. To date, Footprint products have led to a global redirection of sixty-one million pounds of plastic waste from entering the air, earth, and water.

Most recently, Footprint has become a household name in Arizona through its sponsorship of the Phoenix Suns Arena, translating into the creation of a massive sustainable event space, and even making it the nation’s first plastic-free arena. The arena itself serves as an innovation lab for Footprint’s cutting-edge technology and product development, which has transformed the sports and entertainment experiences at the arena. At Footprint, visitors enjoy their food and drinks in sustainable packaging developed by the company – its plant-based fiber technology is used in all trays, cups and utensils. The implementation of the products in this type of environment allows Footprint to assess customer response to Footprint’s technology, creating a phenomenal testing ground for the innovations shaping our future. 

Footprint Co-Founder and CEO Troy Swope shared, “At Footprint Center, we are changing the way fans enjoy their favorite sports and entertainment events. We are committed to transforming the experience so fans can enjoy their food in sustainable packaging, while also reducing waste and minimizing environmental impact. We are proud to be a leader in this industry and look forward to continuing to make a positive difference through our partnership with Suns Legacy Partners.” 

These changes to Footprint Center are producing tangible results with a positive environmental impact. By replacing plastic plates and bowls with Footprint’s plant-based fiber products over the last year, Footprint Center has saved enough energy and CO2 emissions to charge the cell phone of every Footprint Center attendee between now and 2060, drive around the Grand Canyon 2,650 times in a gasoline-powered passenger vehicle, or recycle 102 tons of waste. 

The magnitude of this impact is getting attention outside of Arizona. Just last year, Footprint was recognized among Fast Company’s top 2022 Brands That Matter, landing itself in an exclusive category of just 18 companies doing business with the community in mind, recognized for the “unique ways they are taking their consumers, their immediate communities, and the health of the planet into account.” 

The Business Intelligence Group also recognized Footprint recently, naming it among its 2023 BIG Innovation Award winners. Companies receive this recognition for their commitment to culture, products, and people. Footprint was highlighted as a good corporate citizen that is outpacing many of its competitors. 

“These recognitions are a testament to the entire Footprint organization that is helping transform industries through our plant-based fiber solutions,” said Swope. “Thanks to our team of scientists, engineers, tooling and manufacturing experts, and a number of collaborative customers, we are helping companies transition away from single-use plastics and creating a healthier planet and people.”

Footprint’s evolving legacy is serving as a point of pride for the Valley. Footprint’s innovative spirit has led to new plant-based fiber products that outperform plastic, all while keeping costs in line with industry expectations. Locally and globally, Footprint is creating a brighter future for our planet, highlighting that eco-innovation in business and humanity is more than important, it is critical.



Join Footprint and its foundation in taking the pledge to quit plastic. By 2050 there will be more plastic in our ocean than fish. The time is now to quit plastic. Take the pledge, enter to win a free t-shirt, and learn how we can save the planet together.



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