London-based Unwasted, a producer of premium manufacturing materials from waste cardboard, announced on Tuesday, that it has raised £1.5M (approximately €1.7M) in a Seed round of funding. The company says that the funds will help in building its first manufacturing facility.
Unwasted CEO, Rod Fountain, says, “Unwasted’s mission is to produce a sustainable alternative to virgin wood-based panels which can be remade indefinitely without harm to the environment, and this funding round is an important step in achieving this goal.”
Investors supporting Unwasted
The investment came from UK-based Elbow Beach Capital (EBC), a private investment company focused on decarbonisation, sustainable energy, and social impact businesses. The firm supports founders in scaling their businesses through capital investments, coupled with ESG and go-to-market expertise.
Nick Charman, Chairman of Elbow Beach Capital, says, “Unwasted simultaneously addresses two of the biggest sustainability challenges the world faces, namely deforestation and excess waste. By using waste cardboard as its main input, Unwasted has secured a cheap and abundant feedstock for the foreseeable future and can deliver genuine impact in making the construction and manufacturing industries more circular.”
Unwasted’s existing investor, the UK Government’s Future Fund, also participated in this round.
Unwasted also mentions that EBC’s commercial acumen will benefit in its £72M (nearly €82M) Series A funding round planned in April, which will value Unwasted at over £100M (approx. €113.99M).
Unwasted aims to be the UK’s first recycled materials ‘unicorn’
Founded in 2018 by Rod and Mary Fountain, Unwasted Limited’s aim is to lessen the negative effects of garbage on the environment by turning it into high-performance materials with an endless lifecycle. And to do this, the company developed Neverwaste, a sustainable circular economy solution to the industry’s high need for panel boards.
According to Unwasted, the average home now discards 13,000 different pieces of cardboard annually, and cardboard and paper account for 41 per cent of the world’s solid waste stream, a trend accelerated by the rise of e-commerce. A large portion of this waste is either burnt or dumped in landfills, resulting in huge carbon emissions and the loss of a potentially valuable feedstock.
Unwasted claims that Neverwaste is the first high-performance panel board ever produced in big quantities using just leftover cardboard and packaging. By refining and modifying the fibres of manmade cardboard derived from virgin and recycled timber, Neverwaste produces a superior quality material that can be used in buildings, furniture, kitchens, and flooring without using glues, resins, or other harmful chemicals.
A new manufacturing plant
After successfully demonstrating its technology at a pilot manufacturing facility in Deeside, North Wales, Unwasted hopes to raise £72M in Series A funding from both new and current investors to construct its first large-scale manufacturing facility in Denmark.
One of the greenest production locations in the world, the 75,000m2 Jutland plant will run on closed-loop water technology and be entirely powered by renewable energy, says Unwasted.
The Jutland factory will produce 160,000 m3 of panel boards from 140,000 tonnes of waste cardboard annually, saving around 170,000 trees and 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A single manufacturing line at the facility is estimated to bring in £80M in income annually, with the potential of adding a second line. Contracts with clients for the panels are already in place. By 2030, Unwasted hopes to have at least five locations up and running in the US, Australia, and Europe.