Estonia-based startup Woola aims to be an ecological alternative to traditional packaging methods, with upcycled protective packaging that will reduce the damage done to nature by the increasing ecommerce volume.
Unfortunately, only 2% of plastic materials, which are the first choice in packaging due to their light, flexible and durable nature, can be recycled. In particular, disposable products such as straws, plastic plates and bags used in packaging constitute more than half of the world’s plastic pollution due to their non-recyclability.
Woola, founded in 2019 and received an investment of 2.5 million euros from Future Ventures in its last investment round, takes material that otherwise gets thrown away – waste wool – and turn it into a more planet-friendly alternative for packing fragile stuff safely.
Wool is a naturally high-tech fibre. Its elasticity, water repellency, and resistance to temperature extremes make wool a perfect material for packing items that need extra cushioning. Packaging made of wool is durable and can be reused multiple times. Woola is setting up a special return system to keep the precious material in the loop.
“Bubble wrap has been dominating the packaging industry for ages — but its decline is inevitable,” said Woola’s CEO and co-founder Anna-Liisa Palatu. “The industry is broken for two reasons: fossil fuel reliance and single-use mindset. We need to get rid of both to make packaging more sustainable.”
Currently producing alternative packages to bubble wrap, shockproof envelopes and glass bottle protectors, Woola has succeeded in selling more than 150,000 products since its establishment and received the cleantech initiative of the year in Europe in 2020, given by EIT InnoEnergy.