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Stories from forward-facing Australian businesses
By Felicity Bonello
As consumer habits change, businesses today need to have sustainability at their heart centre. And while many brands are now weaving all things environmental into their forthcoming journey (the greatest change you can make is to start!), there are several innovative brands who, from their outset, have based their M.O. around an eco-friendly concept. We caught up with the trailblazing minds behind Great Wrap, RePlated, and Modibodi to find out how their life’s work is helping to reduce our environmental footprint.
Meet Jordy and Julia Kay. They’re the incomparable husband and wife team behind Great Wrap, an Australian made and certified compostable cling wrap company. Winners of this year’s prestigious Circle Awards in the Home, Garden & Utilities category, Great Wrap – which can be used commercially and at home – takes less than 180 days to break down in your compost pile (that’s faster than an orange peel). And because Great Wrap condenses to carbon and water, leaving zero toxins behind, it’s safe for all compost types, including worm farms and FOGO bins. Proudly manufactured on the Mornington Peninsula at their solar powered factory, Great Wrap is made largely from fermented potato waste and a mix of other compostable biopolymers.
For this pair, the catalyst for innovating Great Wrap came while seeking sustainable products in their respective industries of architecture and wine making.
“Both Jordy and I had used a lot of pallet (plastic) wrap in our industries, and in architecture I would spend a lot of time looking for the most sustainable materials only for them to arrive on site wrapped in pallet wrap made from petroleum-based products, and it was the same for Jordy,” explains Julia.
Armed with a desire to leave the world in a better place than when they started, Jordy and Julia set about developing Great Wrap, while simultaneously testing the market appetite for their product.
“We knew we wanted to use it but weren’t sure if this was actually a product the rest of the world cared about. We had some sample pallet wrap manufactured and posted it on our own personal Instagram accounts – it sold out within hours! That’s when we knew we were doing something important. It was after that moment we decided we’d have to make it ourselves to ensure we could give customers the best products possible without making any sacrifices. Now we have a factory manufacturing it ourselves where we’re creating inclusive jobs and using renewables to power it.”
While they work with a Belgian lab to certify the consistency and accuracy around their home compostable status, it was important to the pair that their supply chain remain localised in Melbourne. “Localising manufacturing was really important because it means we can reduce our carbon footprint with the amount of shipping we’re doing across the globe,” explains Jordy.
With an inherent connection to landscapes and their sights firmly set on ending petroleum-based plastics, this dynamic team plans to grow and develop their product offering in time. Watch this space.
While central business districts remain quieter than restaurateurs would like, takeaway food and home delivery food is thriving, as is – unfortunately – the use of single-use plastic takeaway containers… until now. On a mission to eliminate single-use containers for takeaway food, RePlated, helmed by innovator Naomi Tarszisz, makes reusable lunch boxes that your local takeout will accept instead of disposables. Manufactured on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the RePlated team are helping Australians reduce the amount of waste they create using an innovative blend of recycled plastic and glass that’s tough enough to last for years of heavy-duty use. RePlated will also take these reusable lunch boxes back at the end of their life to turn into new products, making this solution circular across all phases of its life. Having just been awarded the Circle Award for the B2B category, which celebrates and unites those shaping the circular economy, it’s just the beginning for this pioneering business.
“We want you to be able to order food from your favourite local takeaway for your family, have a well-deserved night off, and not generate any waste in the process. We want to help workplaces achieve their zero waste goals and make our city streets cleaner. Our vision is to make single-use history by creating a network of food businesses in your area who accept and/or swap reusables. It only takes 15 washes before a reusable really is the best option – that’s compared to compostable single-use. It’s actually only one or two washes compared to most types of single-use.”
With her intent set to make lovely, cost-effective, planet-friendly alternatives to throwing plastic containers in the bin, Naomi is genuine about the cost of change for the wider community.
“Realistically we need smarter, better products that are sustainable to be widely available and affordable. For example, I love my local bulk food store, and I go on their 20 percent off day every month, but it can be so expensive when you compare it to a supermarket, and I understand it’s not in reach for everyone. We need bigger companies to participate in the low – no packaging movement much more actively. We also need to not make people feel bad for choices they make when they put their own energy or budget ahead of the environment.”
Making the change to live as sustainably as possible will always push us outside the comfort zone we’ve become accustomed to. And while nothing great ever came from easy, when it comes to sustainability and helping to solve the climate crisis, Naomi believes transparency is key. “It’s why we became a Bcorp as soon as we could because I think independent certification and transparency is critical to real progress in sustainability and solving the climate crisis,” she says. “Transparency helps with accountability and responsibility which are also so important. We are still a business and it’s not that we don’t want to be a profitable business one day, but profit (and progress) shouldn’t be at the expense of people or the planet.”
We previously featured the indelible Kristy Chong from Modibodi when she released the original period and leak proof Modibodi underwear. As a mum of four children, her first-hand experience with both disposable nappies, as well as reusables nappies (which leaked!) inspired her to create Modibodi’s patent-pending reusable nappy. Designed on the brand trust Modibodi built from their innovative leak-proof, absorbent underwear (if you haven’t tried them yet, they are game-changing) these nappies are created to encourage more people to switch from disposables to reusables, to help eliminate the millions of tonnes of waste each year caused by disposable nappies.
Naturally, science and innovation are at the forefront of everything Modibodi do, and their creation of reusable nappies was no different.
“Research with both disposable and reusable nappy users identified the challenges and objections stopping parents from switching from disposable to reusable nappies – for good,” says Kristy. “We took those insights, together with our eight years of proven expertise in leak-proof apparel and did what we do best. We combined science, safety, and innovation to develop an original product to solve a pressing environmental problem.’’
On a mission to have limitless positive impact, Modibodi’s entrance into the reusable nappy market will extend the brand and its platform to drive more people to switch from disposable nappies to reusable alternatives. “The biggest challenge in creating and launching this product has been about changing perceptions about reusable nappies. We’re asking the nation to ‘rethink reusables’ and trust our leak-proof design, which is the most absorbent reusable on the market.”
It’s precisely that patent-pending technology which sets the Modibodi reusable nappy apart from the competition.
“Our choice of materials needed to balance performance, durability and safety, while reducing carbon emissions, water use, and the waste caused by disposable nappies. We tested a wide range of natural fabrics including cotton, bamboo, and hemp, but found their performance didn’t meet our high standards for both absorbency and safety. The microfibre terry in our middle absorbent layers (which don’t sit next to baby’s skin) have been knitted and manufactured exclusively to meet our product goals, delivering a level of performance and absorbency which is unique to Modibodi products. All the fabrics and components in our reusable nappies are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified for baby’s safety – the only level we were comfortable with for our new design, and a standard many of the natural fabrics we tested couldn’t meet. Durability was another measure of sustainability, and our nappies are made to last, so you can pass them from child to child, and then onto family and friends.”
As for tired mums, concerned with how much maintenance they can expect, these reusable nappies are designed for multi-tasking modern parents, which means no soaking, no scrubbing, and no stains. After use, simply remove solids by popping any poo in the loo, or, if using Modibodi’s Biodegradable Bamboo Liner, wrap the liner in toilet paper and put it in a compost bin, before rinsing the nappy. “Just wash once (up to 60°C) before first use to activate the absorbent technology, then it’s ready to go,” Kristy explains.
A full overview and care instructions can be found at the link here
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