It’s finally here — stretch wrap that’s made from food waste rather than petroleum-based plastic. It’s time to reset your vocabulary from “plastic wrap” to “Great Wrap.”
Great Wrap is the Australian-based materials science company dedicated to eliminating plastic from the planet. It’s making its point with its first product release. The Great Mate dispenser is made from recycled plastic bottles, with each one removing the equivalent of 33 single-use plastic bottles from the waste stream. The non-plastic stretch wrap comes on rolls called “Nudie Rolls” that fit neatly inside the Great Mate.
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The setup allows users to order refills for the Great Mate with minimal waste. Nudie rolls are made from potato waste, so when the material has been used and is ready for disposal, it can go straight into the backyard compost. This is a massive innovation within the material development world — one that stands to shift the direction of all plastic production.
However, it’s important for consumers to understand the difference between biodegradable and compostable. A material labeled as biodegradable will break down, though that can simply mean breaking down into smaller particles such as the ubiquitous and damaging microplastics that are now found in every living thing on the planet. When an item is biodegradable, it also has no timeline for decomposition.
Materials that compost, however, break down in entirety, leaving behind no particles or toxins. Compostable materials are primarily made from plants. Before tossing them into the backyard bin, it’s important to note whether they are suitable for backyard composting or if they need to be sent to an industrial (municipal) facility. Great Wrap can be composted in your own yard and breaks down within six months, which is the same amount of time as most wood, grass and food waste in the bin it shares.
Great Wrap is made from food product waste from the potato chip industry. It repurposes the rejected potatoes, as well as the skins stripped off in the process. Being compostable isn’t the only difference between Great Wrap and traditional cling wraps. Since it is a natural product, it’s prone to melting at high temperatures. So while it can be used in the microwave, the company suggests keeping an eye on it at medium and high heat. Great Wrap can, however, be used in the refrigerator and it can safely be stored in the home for two years.
The materials are made to function similar to the way plastic functions. The difference comes once the wrap is disposed of. While traditional wrap heads to the landfill where it takes generations to break down, leaching into the soil in the process, Great Wrap begins to break down as soon as it comes into contact with the enzymes in the compost pile. If the product ends up in the landfill, it will still break down.
However, it’s estimated that it will take two to three years. So if you haven’t started a composter yet, this is a “great” reason to make your move. Besides, composting is easy and provides a spot for many of your household debris like all produce peels, stems, cores and other food waste. It’s also the perfect spot to recycle spent garden plants, dump your grass clippings and layer with fall leaves.
Great Wraps founders, Julia and Jordy Kay, come from diverse working backgrounds, yet they share a common passion for sustainable product design. In her previous life as an architect, Julia explains she was nauseated by the amount of plastic wrap used to hold products on pallets. Jordy, on the other hand, was making wine and was similarly frustrated by the amount of plastic involved in the shipping process. One day, the husband and wife duo landed on the solution for both the plastic alternative and their goal of running a business together.
The team is passionate about blanketing the planet with Great Wrap, one customer at a time. As an alternative to petroleum-based wraps, it solves problems related with pollution from petroleum extraction and transport, provides an outlet for potato waste from French fry and potato chip manufacturers and leaves zero evidence of its time on Earth once it breaks down in the composter. That’s a full-circle product, so it’s no surprise Jordy says he expects to see Great Wrap “literally everywhere” within 10 years’ time.
Great Wrap provides a starter kit where you can acquire your initial Great Mate and two Nudie Rolls for $39. The Great Mate is available in four color options. The Nudie Rolls measure 98 feet in length. After your initial purchase, you can subscribe for automatic deliveries every two or three months at a cost of $19.90. Your cling wrap deliveries have a $5 flat rate for shipping. Currently, Great Wrap is shipping to locations throughout Australia and the United States. It has plans to expand shipping locations in the near future. The company offers a 100% satisfaction and 30-day return policy for all Great Mates and unopened Nudie Rolls.
Images via Great Wrap