It’s been a four-year journey for the co-founders of Great Wrap, Julia and Jordy Kay, but the duo has this week officially launched their world-first composable pallet wrap product in a bid to rid the world of petroleum-based alternatives.
The pair, which raised $24 million in a Series A funding round last year, this week announced the product is now available to Australian buyers, as well as plans to open up access to international customers soon.
It is an extension of the sustainable brand’s existing product line-up, which includes compostable cling wrap for home usage and Great Wrap’s Great Mate - a reusable cling wrap dispenser made from recycled plastic bottles in Melbourne.
“We’ve been talking about doing this for almost four years, so we’re really excited,” Great Wrap co-founder Julia Kay told Business News Australia.
“It’s a big milestone for us.”
Unlike the at-home cling wrap the Victorian-based brand already sells, the pallet wrap was created to compete with petroleum-based pallet wrap products that currently dominate the market.
Though the at-home and B2B (business-to-business) products are similar with both made from food waste, Julia noted that it took plenty of research and development for the pallet wrap to get the tensile strength up to snuff for commercial customers.
Work was also done to get the manufacturing plant at a sufficient scale to handle the capacity required - a process buoyed by the group’s move into a new 12,000sqm facility in Tullamarine.
“I think we’re now set to be manufacturing 5,000 tonnes per year, which compared to our pilot factory is a huge uptake, and the goal is by 2024 we’ll be hitting 20,000 tonnes per year of capacity,” said the co-founder, who won the Social Responsibility & Sustainability category at the 2021 Melbourne Young Entrepreneur Awards alongside husband Jordy.
“While we’ve had the home products in the market, we’ve been able to refine these technical properties and get it to where we really want it to be for the B2B customer.”
For Great Wrap’s customers the launch of the pallet wrap has been a long time coming, and the scale-up is eager to satisfy that demand now that everything is finally in place.
“We’ve had so many brands really keen to use our pallet wrap, but because of our size we just really couldn’t cater for their needs,” she said.
“The market has really driven the scale of what we’ve set out now - going from 1,000 rolls per day to 100,000 rolls per day in capacity has been a really big shift for us.
“We had this scheduled in for a March 2022 launch, but because of things like equipment and supply chain issues, we’ve only just got it sorted recently.”
Beyond figuring out the right way to scale the manufacturing process, Julia also said the formula for the pallet wrap changed a number of times until the duo landed on the right mix.
“The new formula that we’ll be launching with is made from a combination of cassava and potato waste, and then we’ve developed bioplasticizer made from used cooking oil,” she said.
“That’s been super incredible because we’re using another type of waste, but it’s also allowed us to get our pricing down to a point where we’re comfortable we can compete with petroleum plastic.
“The equipment as well is so good for us. I think our first pilot plant was really rudimentary, and the machinery we’ve got now is Austrian machinery - it’s like the Ferrari of extrusion lines.”
As such, Julia said Great Wrap is confident it can meet demand for the pallet wrap, and is positioned well thanks to the success of its home product which acted as an ‘acquisition engine for B2B demand’.
“I think in the time since we’ve been around, consumer sentiment around compostable materials has changed a lot - there’s a lot more knowledge,” she said.
“Big customers are very, very ready, and we’re ready to supply them.”
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