London-based sustainable packaging startup Notpla has announced 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 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 using seaweed. This new round of funding will enable the London startup to grow its manufacturing capacity including the production of a transparent flexible film and a seaweed paper.
Notpla (a portmanteau for “Not plastic”) is developing seaweed products that 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, and everywhere in the natural environment. Notpla’s products easily biodegrade in nature in just 4-6 weeks without the need for industrial composting or special conditions.
Notpla is best known for its sustainable packaging solution “Ooho” — an edible and fully biodegradable packaging made of seaweed. To date, Oohos have replaced over 500,000 units of single-use plastic packaging at major international events.
Recently Notpla launched 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 latest funding round will help accelerate the industrialization 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 flavorings.
The funds will also support the development of Notpla’s seaweed fibre paper made from the by-products of the company’s industrial processes. This seaweed paper requires 30% less wood pulp than conventional paper, lowering pressure on forests while reducing waste from the seaweed supply chain. Notpla is collaborating with fashion and luxury brands to develop premium sustainable solutions for secondary packaging such as boxes, envelopes or sleeves.
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