compostable alternative soft plastic

A compostable alternative to soft plastic developed in NZ

As the former owner of three busy restaurants in New Zealand, Ben Grant knows a thing or two about the issue of packaging. “We had about 10,000 people moving through our premises every week. Out of those around 50% were ordering takeaway”, he recalls. “Add to that all the packaging the produce is coming in and you’re dealing with huge piles of rubbish and recycling every day.”

Having always been conscious about the footprint he’s been living, Ben decided to change the packaging industry for the better after he sold his restaurant business in 2018. Together with Josh Kempton he founded Grounded Packaging, a start-up that is aiming to replace soft plastic with compostable packaging from bio-based materials.

“We are focusing on soft plastic because it is the most problematic area in our current waste and recycling system”, says Ben.

Ben Grant is the co-founder of Grounded Packaging offering compostable alternatives to soft plastic.
Ben Grant is the co-founder of Grounded Packaging.

Soft plastic cannot go into kerbside recycling system because it gets caught in the machinery (side note: soft plastic can get recycled through RedCycle). At the same time, soft plastic – like most plastics – is made from petrochemicals. Therefore, it’s harming the environment in more than one way.

Why we still need packaging

Yet, while the movement against single-use plastic is gathering momentum in some regions, it’s difficult to imagine a modern world without packaging.

“Packaging material fulfils an important role in life – and especially in the food industry”, says Ben. For instance, packaging increases the shelf life of fresh produce which in turn helps to reduce food waste.

Entrepreneurs