Notpla secures £10M to industrialize sustainable packaging made of seaweed, including flexible films, coatings and paper

According to Notpla, seaweed is an ideal feedstock because it is abundant, grows quickly, does not compete with food, sequesters carbon, and does not require fertilizer or fresh water

Notpla co-founders Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Paslier
Notpla co-founders Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Paslier. © Notpla
  • Close of a £10 million Series A financing round for sustainable packaging start-up Notpla
  • Round led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from existing investors Astanor Ventures, Lupa Systems and Torch Capital.
  • Funding will accelerate the commercialization of Oohos and Notpla coating, and will support the industrialization of new innovative Notpla products, including flexible films and paper.

Sustainable packaging startup Notpla announced today the close of a £10 million Series A financing round. The round was led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from existing investors Astanor Ventures, Lupa Systems and Torch Capital.

Founded in 2014 by two Imperial College London and Royal College of Art alumni, Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre-Yves Paslier, Notpla’s mission is to make packaging disappear by providing a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging using seaweed. This new round of funding will enable the London startup to grow its manufacturing capacity while developing new innovative solutions, among which a transparent flexible film and a seaweed paper.

Notpla (a play on the term ‘Not Plastic’) is harnessing the power of seaweed to replace single-use plastic, one of the leading causes of environmental pollution across the globe. The UN Environment Programme estimates that only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, while 12% has been incinerated and the remaining 79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment.

Seaweed is one of the planet’s most abundant sources of biomass (growing at a rate up to 1 metre per day), its production does not compete with food crops, requires no fertiliser or fresh water to produce and actively sequesters carbon dioxide. In line with the new EU Single-Use Plastic Directive which aims to ban synthetic materials such as PLA, PHA and other bioplastics, Notpla’s products easily biodegrade in nature in just 4-6 weeks without the need for
industrial composting or special conditions. The EU’s ambitious targets cannot be achieved without innovative solutions like Notpla.

Notpla is best known for its sustainable packaging solution “Ooho” – an edible and fully biodegradable packaging made of seaweed – to date, Oohos has replaced over 500,000 single-use plastic packaging at major international events such as the London Marathon with Lucozade and London Cocktail Week with Glenlivet.

Notpla launched in 2021 the first seaweed coating for cardboard packaging. Unlike regular boxes, the Notpla boxes are biodegradable and recyclable. Successful trials of 30,000 boxes led to the commercial launch of the Notpla box with Just Eat Takeaway.com to hundreds of UK restaurants. This innovative packaging will progressively expand to Just Eat’s 26 countries and onboard new customers in the foodservice industry.

The startup’s product pipeline is filling up with exciting new plastic-free solutions. This latest funding round will help accelerate the industrialisation of Notpla’s flexible, biodegradable films – a packaging alternative for dry products that are currently in plastic sachets. Applications include packaging for hygiene, cleaning products such as detergents or pre-portioned foods such as pasta, coffee and drink flavourings. With no other readily biodegradable, biobased, and flexible solutions on the market, these applications are in high demand from brands that are struggling to effectively remove plastic from their product ranges. Notpla has completed successful lab trials and is now currently working on scaling up the process with several commercial partners.

The funds will also support the development of Notpla paper, made from the by-products remaining from the industrial processing of seaweed. This seaweed paper requires 30% less wood pulp than conventional paper, lowering pressure on forests while reducing waste from the seaweed supply chain, making it a first-class sustainable solution. Notpla is collaborating with fashion and luxury brands to develop premium sustainable solutions for
secondary packaging such as boxes, envelopes or sleeves.

Wayne Cheng, Portfolio Curator at Horizons Ventures, said: “We are excited to join Notpla’s journey to make packaging disappear. Conscious of the urgency to act on single-use plastic pollution, we’ve been impressed by the innovative solutions offered by this team of ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe Notpla is revolutionising the packaging industry with seaweed as a raw material.”

Pierre-Yves Paslier, Co-CEO of Notpla added: “We are delighted to accelerate the pace towards a zero single-use plastic future. This new round coupled with soon-to-be-announced commercial partnerships is the perfect opportunity to put seaweed on the map of packaging solutions. At Notpla we believe that “Nature knows best”, and we only use naturally occurring materials that have had millions of years to adapt with the rest of the environment. Our new films
and seaweed paper are great examples of this principle and are the most sustainable solution in their categories. We’re excited to see traction in the food service industry and are looking forward to moving into the cosmetics and fashion markets very soon.”

Source

Notpla, press release, 2021-12-08.

Supplier

Horizons Ventures
Imperial College London
Just Eat
Notpla
Royal College of Art (London)

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