‘Huge revolution coming’: Ditching plastic wrap for compost

Winemaker Jordy Kay was appalled by the amount of plastic used to wrap the pallets of wine he exported to overseas markets.

"If you put so much effort in to make the wine natural it is a shame to wrap it up in plastic," he says. "At any dock you can see pallets upon pallets of plastic stretch wrap and seldom is it recycled.

Kay was inspired to start Great Wrap, the world's first certified compostable industrial stretch wrap with the aim of removing 1 million tonnes of plastic from the environment.

Jordy Kay is the founder of plastic free wrap company Great Wrap. Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

"I thought someone would step into the space, it makes a lot of sense," he says. "Nobody did, so I thought I would."

The 29-year-old invested about $60,000 in savings to create a minimum viable product starting with a biodegradable product last year before this week launching Great Wrap.

Great Wrap is made from plant-based products, rather than plastic, and breaks down within 180 days once it enters compost pile.

Jordy Kay of Great Wrap says each roll saves 1.2 kilometres of plastic wrap. Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Kay says Great Wrap has already attracted interest from companies as varied as Penfolds and the Dubai Airport.

"They are all really interested but it is just a slow burn because it is more expensive and plastic is cheap and easy," he says. "Once we can get to a point when it is a little cheaper more will come on board."

Kay says wrapping a pallet in Great Wrap costs around $2.50 while wrapping it in standard petrol-based plastic costs around $1.50.

Tom Belford, founder of Bobar Wines, was one of Great Wrap's first customers for its biodegradable wrap and is keen to use the compostable wrap.

"It is about finding another part in your supply chain that you can get rid of some plastic and find a sustainable and viable alternative," he says. "My only concern would be if it doesn't function as well. The cost difference is negligible."

Great Wrap is keen to create an plastic wrap alternative for the consumer market as well but for now is focused on the business to business market.

"The biggest issues we face around the world are B2B," Kay says. "It's great to see people using keep cups and reusable bags but we personally believe consumers are just tip of the iceberg."

He says a large Australian winery sells nearly 100,000 pallets of wine every year using roughly 50,388 kilograms of single-use stretch wrap, of which only 5000 kilograms will be recycled.

"There is the potential to remove 1 million tonnes of plastic from the environment."

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