Aussie startup launches world first compostable pallet wrap

by | Mar 24, 2023

Great Wrap Julia and Jordy Kay

Great Wrap Julia and Jordy Kay.

Melbourne-based Great Wrap has launched the world’s first compostable pallet wrap. The company started in 2019 and raised $24 million last year for its vision to ‘completely knock petroleum plastic off the shelf’.

“Some of the businesses that were coming to us were iconic Australian brands that we all know and love, so that was good to see,” Julia Kay, co-founder of Great Wrap, said in a call with SmartCompany.

According to Great Wrap, 100,000 tonnes of traditional plastic wrap winds up in landfill each year. And that is just in Australia. A big part of that is pallet wrap being an integral part of global supply chains. Combined with a lack of facilities that can recycle these petroleum-based materials – it has become an exponential problem.

Great Wrap is determined to help address this by making 20,000 tonnes of its biodegradable wrap by 2025. Five thousand of which will be in 2023 alone.

Its products are completely compostable, even in home compost units. Presently, Great Wrap imports some of its thermoplastic starch materials, which are made from the waste from potato chip production, but it has its eyes on creating more solutions locally.

“We have also developed a pathway to convert potato waste into PHA, which is the biopolymer. It performs just like plastic but will break down not only the home compost pile but in marine environments as well,” Ms Kay said.

“We are planning on setting up a biorefinery for that on-site next year. So that will mean we will be processing local potato wastes. I will be really happy when we are at that point because we will be almost fully circular.”

Despite the current economic turmoil in the world, there has been a push from companies, as well as consumers, to engage in more sustainable practices and opt for local choices.

“I think it is a really good story for these businesses to be able to tell and I think they are proud to be using us. Because there really is no other option. It is either plastic or Great Wrap.”

Now that its pallet wrap product has launched, addressing plastic wrap use on a large scale, there are also plans for the company’s Nudie Rolls to appear in supermarkets in the future – possibly at the end of 2023.

“We have had some great chats with ranging teams. Now we have pallet wrap launched and contracts on the way we will shift focus on getting into retailers with the home side as well,” Ms Kay concluded.