A Victorian couple have won an $80,000 Amazon grant after launching the world’s first biodegradable cling wrap.
Jordy and Julia Kay are the founders of Great Wrap, which is a compostable cling wrap alternative designed to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in both businesses and households.
The couple have been working on the business for 18 months and released the world’s first compostable pallet wrap in March before working to release a home cling wrap for families to use while in lockdown amid COVID-19.
Great Wrap is among five small-medium businesses to each receive more than $80,000 worth of grants by Amazon Launchpad including a $20,000 cash grant, access to mentors and entrepreneur experts and marketing support.
The 29-year-old winemaker and 28-year-old architect were fed up with the amount of plastic used in packaging and pledged to work together to make a change.
Jordy and Julia Kay (pictured together) have created the world’s first compostable cling wrap
Great Wrap (pictured) is a cling wrap alternative is designed to reduce the amount of single use plastic used by businesses and households
‘We both knew we wanted to solve a problem in the environmental space and were waiting till we found a cross pollination of both our industries,’ Mr Kay told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We saw with construction materials on any work site, no matter how much of the product there was, it was still wrapped in single use plastic.
‘It was really upsetting and once we had noticed how much plastic we went through on our day to day we couldn’t unsee it.’
The Albert Park couple noted while compostable coffee cups and shopping bags had become readily available in the market, no one had looked into pallet wrap wastage as a B2B issue.
They worked with various experts and PHD students before finding a manufacturer they could work with to develop their unique product.
Great Wrap is made primarily from corn starch and other plant-based products and takes less than 180 days to break down in a compost bin.
The product is an effective money saver for businesses and households alike as less of the cling wrap is required to cover food and other items.
In the small time their products have been available on the market, the brand have prevented nearly 10,000 kilograms of plastic from going into landfill.
Great Wrap is made from plant products and breaks down in compost in less than 180 days
Great Wrap produce a pallet wrap for businesses and a smaller cling wrap for households
Ms Kay said the couple are constantly working on their formula in an effort to create a product that will be 100 per cent plant based and partially made from food waste.
‘I hope we never get to a point where we’re not working on it,’ she said. ‘I hope we can keep on learning and trying to improve ourselves all the time.’
Great Wrap’s pallet wrap was launched in March and generated incredible buzz right as the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the country.
GREAT WRAP FOUNDERS’ TIPS FOR STARTING A BUSINESS:
1 – Focus your attention on one idea. ‘We get excited about lots of ideas but it has the potential to dilute,’ Ms Kay said. ‘Once we focused on one we noticed things started to go well.’
2 – Listen to negative criticism. ‘I had to learn not to take negative criticism from peers, friends or family to heart,’ Mr Kay said. ‘I’ve had a lot of people tell me “you’ve lost the plot” but I’m glad we’ve pushed on.
3 – Try and improve all the time. ‘I hope we never get to a point where we’re not working on our product,’ Ms Kay said.
4 – Knowing when to switch off. ‘We’re married and it’s very important to know when you are done for the day,’ Mr Kay said. ‘You need to be able to have a knock off beer on Friday and move away.’
‘We’d spent a lot of time sending products back and forth to perfect what we wanted and then picked the world’s worst time to launch a B2B company,’ Mr Kay said.
‘Week one was incredible. We had heaps of interest from a range of businesses and sources and then in week two everyone went into lockdown.’
The couple used the lockdown period to perfect their home cling wrap and used the growing interest in their brand as a key motivation to push through uncertain times.
‘We’ve had conversations with everyone from householders and big businesses around the world from cosmetic companies, mining groups and supermarkets,’ Mr Kay said.
‘It got to the point where we had to say “look, we’re not ready for you just yet”. These conversations can be daunting and make you feel out of your depth but you do learn quite quickly.’
The couple have invested $50,000 of their own money into Great Wrap and are deep into the challenge of balancing their home lives and other work commitments with the company.
The pair are very hands on with the business and are stoked to get further backing and support from the Amazon grant to further their dreams.
‘It’s exciting to see our compostable cling wrap that started as just an idea benefit so many Australians and the environment, and with the help of the grant we’ll be able to expand our manufacturing in Australia and fast track developing more exciting products to take plastic out of landfill,’ Ms Kay said.
‘It has been a tough year but we have been overwhelmed with positive affirmation from around Australia and to receive this grant really just pushes us to keep working even harder.’
‘It is a huge boost,’ Mr Kay continued. ‘And the experts help will be invaluable.’
The rapid growth of composting in Australia has the Kay’s excited to become leaders in the field with Great Wrap
The couple will use the grant to spend on further manufacturing in Melbourne to satisfy customer orders and replenish their factory supplies.
Ms Kay said the couple have strong faith in their brand as consumers don’t need to change their living habits to make a lasting positive change.
‘Our product means Australians are able to feel less guilty about using cling wrap and they don’t need to make drastic changes or reinvent the way they live to make a significant environmental impact,’ Ms Kay said.
‘What we love is that everyone uses it and goes “oh, it’s just like regular cling wrap” and we’re like “yeah, that’s the point”.’
Around 40 per cent of Australian families compost from home and the rapid growth of composting services in the country has the Kay’s excited to become leaders in their field.
‘The future of this space in Australia is very exciting,’ Ms Kay said. ‘ We have seen a lot of new things pop up with the potential for Australia to become leaders in recycling and reusable technologies.’
‘It is a very wholesome circular economy and we are keen to be big advocates in this space.’
In the small time their products have been available, the brand have prevented nearly 10,000 kilograms of plastic from going into landfill