Small business breaks new ground in packaging with carbon-negative product


A Sydney small business has launched a recyclable, carbon-negative packaging made from sugarcane that will allow food manufacturers to safely store and transport food without having to use plastic.

The business, Grounded Packaging – whose co-founders Ben Grant and Josh Kempton were 2019 Inside Small Business Top 50 Small Business Leaders – has developed a sugarcane-based packaging called BioPE that uses up to 80 per cent fewer fossil fuels to manufacture than traditional plastic. Whereas compostable alternatives to plastic cost three times as much to produce, BioPE only costs one0and-a-half times as much to produce, and offers the same level of functionality in the storage of wet & oily items and dry & preserved goods, such as coffee – something compostable alternatives do not deliver.

“Grounded was born out of the experience of failed sustainable packaging processes in the food industry,” Ben Grant, co-founder of Grounded Packaging, said. “Packaging is vital in preventing wastage and prolonging shelf life, but plastic has cultivated a ‘take, make, dispose’ model that the industry has been stuck with for a long time. And, when there are no viable alternatives, businesses have no choice but to keep packaging their goods in plastic.

“From day one our mission has been to reduce plastics and virgin materials within the packaging industry, providing greater transparency and better alternatives for our customers,” Grant added. “Creating a highly-functional sugarcane packaging for the unique needs of the food industry means doing the right thing has just become possible for thousands of manufacturers.”

In addition to being carbon-negative, BioPE uses non-toxic inks and can be recycled in general soft plastic systems. Its launch is another step in Grounded’s mission to create a circular economic model in which packaging materials are reusable, recyclable, recycled, or compostable.