Eco-sustainable wool felt packaging
2022 is shaping up to be the biggest year yet for Planet Protector Packaging, the award-winning Australian manufacturer and distributor of insulated packaging made from 100% non-textile grade, coarse wool.
Founded in 2015, Planet Protector has been in the race to become the market leader in thermal packaging that doesn’t harm the planet. The company’s flagship product, Woolpack, is not only eco-friendly but is also very commercially viable and a cost-effective option for businesses wanting to garner some quick wins around their sustainability and governance. One of the company’s biggest clients is health supplements manufacturer Blackmores which uses the wool felt liners to transport its temperature sensitive biopharmaceuticals.
Planet Protector manufactures Woolpack packaging using non-textile grade, coarse wool. The fibre’s outstanding insulating properties are superior to polystyrene and perfect for keeping the temperature of food, seafood and pharmaceuticals stable during transportation.
“From fresh produce to meal kits, ready to eat meals to fine wines, pet food to chocolate, seafood to pharmaceuticals, Woolpack has been proven to keep contents below 5°C for well over 24 hours and between 2°C and 8°C for 72 hours and beyond,” said Plant Protector founder and CEO, Joanne Howarth.
“Woolpack has been independently tested and shown to outperform alternative cold chain packaging in the marketplace. Added benefits of wool include its elasticity and its crimp factor, which offer impact resistance and cushioning to goods in transit. It provides crash protection to packages.”
A sustainable product for the circular economy
Joanne says that while the performance of Woolpack is outstanding, it is the eco-credentials of the product that are the key driving force behind the company and a key point of difference from other cold packaging products like polystyrene.
“Our mission is to remove polystyrene from our planet by providing cost effective, sustainable, eco-friendly packaging made from wool, which is a natural and renewable fibre,” she said.
“No harsh chemicals are used in Woolpack’s manufacture. The wool is simply scoured using soap and hot water. This means Woolpack wool felts are 100% biodegradable and compostable, suitable to place in home green vegetation bins or to bury in the backyard, releasing valuable nutrients back into the soil.
“Alternatively, customers find many uses for Woolpack around the home, such as weed matting, pipe lagging, pet bedding, hanging baskets, van panelling… the list goes on.”
Company set to expand into regional Australia in 2022
Headquartered in western Sydney, Planet Protector in November 2021 received a $4.8 million grant from the Australian Government, through its Modern Manufacturing Initiative, that the company will use to open a state of the art $9.6 million manufacturing, processing and R&D facility in Geelong, Victoria, very close to one of the largest wool scours in the country. It is set to be operational later in 2022.
“The grant will allow our sustainable and thermally stable Woolpack packaging to be manufactured in Australia. We will create jobs and support Aussie wool farmers and regional communities whilst reducing our carbon footprint and creating Australian sovereign capacity to create other circular economy-based wool products.”
Less than a month after receiving the Federal Government grant, Planet Protector was announced as the major recipient of another grant, from the NSW Government’s R&D Innovation Districts Challenge. With support from Investment NSW and the University of Wollongong, the company received $250,000.
To round off an exciting couple of months at the end of 2021, Planet Packaging received the NSW Circular Transition Award from the Banksia Foundation at the inaugural NSW Sustainability Awards, supported by the NSW Government, as recognition of the company’s achievements in developing a product that helps move the packaging industry from a linear to a circular model.
Joanne says Planet Protector Packaging is actively looking to source coarse wool from cross-bred sheep, but not Merino, that it can use in its Woolpack product. Australian woolgrowers are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org to express their interest in supplying the company. Source: AWI