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Aussie Start-Up & Opal Tackle 100,000 Tonne Waste Crisis

Great Wrap has secured $5m in VC funding to drive circularity in pallet wrap supply chains.


Fri 24 May 24

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Material startup Great Wrap is partnering with Opal ANZ, one of Australia’s largest paper and packaging companies, to solve a 100,000-tonne problem: helping businesses divert pallet wrap from landfills.

Announced yesterday, the B-Corp-certified company has just secured an additional $5 million from investors. The seed money will help build on its extensive distribution network and partnership with Opal ANZ and will be added to the Opal Packaging Plus division’s 15,000 products. It is the first fully compostable stretch wrap in the range.

Speaking to SmartCompany yesterday, Jordy Kay, one of the two co-founders, said the partnership is crucial in Great Wrap’s journey as the business continues to scale up.

“All of the hard testing and building is behind us, and we’ve successfully crossed the ‘valley of death’ that many deep tech startups face,” before adding that “this partnership validates that we have a top-tier product and are ready to commercialise and scale.”

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The co-founders of Great Wrap, Julia and Jordy Kay.

Great Wrap’s fully compostable machine pallet wrap is certified by the Australasian Bioplastics Association and made from compostable biopolymers and plant-based oils. It is a packaging solution for businesses that secures pallet loads while minimising supply chain waste.

“We operate in a space where operators are concerned about the quality of the material and the cost,” according to Ms Kay, adding that “our machine pallet wrap stands out because it’s fully compostable, capable of a 250% pre-stretch, operates smoothly on high-speed lines, and maintains high tension for ultimate reliability.” 

“Our Wrap is denser and stronger than traditional Wrap, meaning our customers can reduce their wrap thickness to achieve the same results as they would with traditional Wrap.”

Last year, Great Wrap launched the world’s first compostable pallet wrap after raising $24 million to “completely knock petroleum plastic off the supermarket shelf”.

“Our Series A took us from a small system on the Mornington Peninsula to a much larger facility at Tullamarine, which allows us to produce huge amounts of products of much higher quality,” said Ms Kay.

Why Australia has a 100,000-tonne problem with plastic waste

Australia generates 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, with more than 100,000 tonnes of traditional plastic ending up in landfills.

After launching its Nudie Wrap compostable cling wrap subscription service directly to consumers in 2020, Great Wrap’s focus switched to the B2B market. In partnership with Opal ANZ, it aims to produce 5,000 tonnes of certified compostable machine pallet wrap.

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Great Wrap aims to produce 5000 tonnes of the newly launched compostable pallet wrap in 2024 for sale through Opal.

The $5 million raise includes backing from new investors, follow-up investors, government funding and debt. New investors include former world number one tennis player Aryna Sabalenka and RCV Partners, with support from Barrel Ventures, Giant Leap, Platinum Mile, Startmate and Darren Thomas, the managing director of Thomas Food International.

With the Push to Circularity, waste and upcycling is big business!

Last year, Wood Central reported that more than 133 countries have already committed to circular economy principles, with 79 fully committed to adopting them as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)including Australia, which, in November 2022, became the first country in the world to pledge to a fully circular economy by 2030.

As a result, financial investors are now drawn to the waste and recycling space to diversify further infrastructure investment portfolios and better hedge against future disruptors. 

According to hedge fund managers Alvarez and Marsal, “Waste has become an asset class of considerable interest to the infrastructure investor community due to unique sector characteristics and growing emphasis on sustainable waste management solutions.”

Author

  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.

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