Women owned sustainable materials company acquired by TGI for industrial sustainability projects

Minneapolis-based TGI LLC has announced the acquisition of Alterwaste, a sustainable materials development company based in Edinburgh. The strategic acquisition aligns with TGI’s ongoing involvement in industrial projects requiring sustainable materials.

Invented by Edinburgh Napier University graduate Martina Zupan, Alterwaste’s patented technology adds value to industrial waste by-products, primarily eggshell waste, by combining with plant extracts and processing to create various forms of materials, including an alternative to plastic, spongy fire-retardant insulation and microbeads, all of which are biodegradable. The company’s green technology has found applications in diverse industries including cosmetics, cleaning, packaging, construction, and sanitary products.

TGI LLC is a holding company formed by four industry veterans with a background in healthcare packaging, environmental health & safety, foodservice, facilities management, industrial equipment and components.  TGI identifies and supports in the commercialisation of unique IP with the potential to add value to large-scale industrial projects and portfolios, with a particular focus on sustainability.

The company has a proven track record of developing strategic partnerships, including distribution, licensing, joint ventures, alliances, investment, and acquisition.

Alterwaste is not the first Scottish-based company with whom TGI has worked. Last year, a partnership was agreed between TGI and microfibrillated cellulose producer CelluComp to support in the Fife headquartered firm’s ambitious commercialisation plans in the US.


Prior to exit, Alterwaste has been 100% women-owned. Founder Martina Zupan came up with the idea whilst a student at Edinburgh Napier University.  Having grown up on a farm in Slovenia, using eggshell waste as fertiliser, Zupan began to research what happened to the waste on an industrial scale and was surprised to learn that 80 tonnes ends up in landfill each year.  That led her to develop the novel material, initially as her final year project.

The firm was initially funded through the Climate-KIC Accelerator Programme run by the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (previously Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation), and by winning competitions run by the Bright Red TriangleScottish EdgeShell Live WireScottish Institute for EnterpriseConverge Challenge and latterly raised investment through private individuals, such as G-Hold founder Alison Grieve and TheGreenEdge.com CFO Jean Kretchmer.

Martina Zupan, Inventor and Founder of Alterwaste. exits the business to the US company TGI LLC
Shell LiveWIRE Martina Zupan Portraits, 2018

Alison Grieve is a well-established name in the global business ecosystem for her successful IP rich business G-Hold and it was her expertise in IP and global connections that were the catalyst for this acquisition and the initial introduction of Alterwaste to TGI.

TGI first met with Alterwaste in 2018 to research a particular application for the green technology in the industrial cleaning industry. TGI has continued to provide advice and facilitate introductions on an informal basis while Alterwaste developed its patent portfolio.

With the acquisition of Alterwaste’s green technology, TGI is poised to further its mission of promoting sustainable practices in the industrial sector. The company plans to leverage Alterwaste’s unique IP to develop new products and services that not only meet the needs of their clients but also contribute positively to the environment.

“The acquisition of Alterwaste presents an opportunity for TGI to enhance our IP portfolio, adding value to a number of sustainability projects to which Alterwaste’s patents apply,” said Douglas Kretchmer, chairman of TGI. “This move not only strengthens our commitment to sustainability but also opens up new opportunities for us to innovate and provide our industrial clients with sustainable solutions.”

“I’m very grateful to the team at TGI for their advice and support in the lead up to this acquisition, to our patent attorneys Marks & Clerk and to Alterwaste’s existing investors. I’m delighted that all the research and development, and resulting patents, will be applied in markets that we wouldn’t otherwise have reached. The level of expertise and experience in the TGI team, in addition to their extensive industrial client base, has immediately increased the possibilities for commercialisation across a far broader range of industries than we had originally planned.”


TGI is a Minneapolis-based holding company formed by industry veterans to support the commercialisation of complex multi-channel technologies and patent portfolios. 

The company was founded by four key individuals:

Douglas Kretchmer – Douglas has served in international marketing management, general management and board directorship roles with global market leaders in the chemical, paper, packaging, healthcare, environmental services, foodservice, food processing and safety industries. Douglas founded The Green Edge – www.thegreenedge.com – in 1993 to support businesses at the intersection of critical hygiene technologies and environmental concerns.

Michael Severyn – Former VP of Sales and Marketing at Dyspensing Dynamics with a background in commercialising patent-protected products in international B2B markets.

Jose Ramirez – Background in industrial cleaning technologies, integrating a large network of international research and technical support centers, and pioneering new technologies and business models in a very risk-averse industry. Experienced in corporate mergers, turnarounds, Private Equity and acquisitions. First to bring hydrogen peroxide to mass-scale, commercial use for sanitization, disinfection and sterilization for surfaces, instruments and equipment in medical, dental and veterinary applications.

Chris Plotz – Director of Technical and Business Development at MiniFIBERS with significant experience in product launch, business development, research and development, and intellectual property management. Recognized innovator with five patents that protect strategic product platforms.

About Alterwaste:

Alterwaste Ltd is a, Edinburgh-based sustainable materials development company with unique IP applicable to the cosmetics, cleaning, packaging, construction, feminine hygiene and diaper industries. Founded by Martina Zupan in 2017, who came up with the idea or her final year project at Edinburgh Napier University, Alterwaste adds value to industrial waste by-products (primarily eggshell waste) by reprocessing the source material and creating a unique, natural and compostable replacement for a range of industries and applications, such as:

    • Packaging
    • Foodservice disposables
    • Cosmetics
    • Cleaning
    • Horticulture
    • Construction

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