Planet Protector Packaging has won a $4.8 million federal government grant, which will be used to establish a $9.6 million manufacturing facility to support the production of its innovative Woolpack packaging solution.

The location of the facility is yet to be confirmed following a further feasibility study, but it is set to be constructed and operational some time in 2022. 

The grant forms part of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources translation stream – Recycling and Clean Energy Priority Round 1, under the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

Joanne Howarth, Planet Protector Packaging (PPP) founder and CEO, welcomed the federal government’s support of the Ewe Beauty – Bringing Wool Manufacturing Back Home to Australia project.

“This tops off a fantastic week for our business, with PPP being announced as a Banksia Award Finalist for the NSW Sustainability Awards in Circular Economy category, as well as an appearance on ABC’s LandLine,” said Howarth. 

“This grant will allow our sustainable and thermally stable Woolpack packaging solution to be manufactured in Australia and create regional jobs in NSW, while reducing our carbon footprint, and creating Australian sovereign capacity to create wool and other circular economy-based textile solutions.” 

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the government is securing Australia’s economic recovery by backing manufacturers to grow and scale their businesses, while protecting the environment with more than $44 million in funding in this round of MMI funding. 

“This grant will see Planet Protector use sheep waste wool to manufacture Woolpack, a sustainable alternative to polystyrene (EPS) for use in supply chains for the transportation of temperature-controlled food, seafood and pharmaceuticals,” said Henderson. 

“The project will vertically integrate PPP into Woolpack Australia’s operations, constructing a state-of-the-art wool manufacturing, processing and R&D facility to service emerging domestic and international opportunities. 

“The project will also enable Woolpack Australia to expand into high-value vertical products, such as building insulation and cool room panelling where EPS is used.” 

Woolpack solutions have been tested and proven to outperform both EPS and alternative packaging.

The specifically chosen fibres absorb moisture from the air, minimising humidity and condensation to maintain stable temperatures. 

The recyclable or compostable liner, which encloses the wool is micro-perforated to allow the wool fibres to breathe and create the national cooling system. 

The grants fall under the $1.3 billion MMI – to be shared by six Australian companies, including $20 million for Pact Group – to invest in world-leading recycling technology, create more than 900 new jobs, and divert around 125,000 tonnes of plastic waste from landfill per year. 

“This funding will help spur opportunities for our manufacturers to grow here at home and into other export markets,” said Angus Taylor, minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction. 

“The government is taking action to reduce Australia’s emissions and secure our economic future, and our investments will help our manufacturers to be part of the solution. 

“This funding will help some of our most innovative businesses unlock private investment, drive more opportunities in manufacturing, as well as create new local jobs.

“While helping our businesses embrace new technology and scale up their production, this funding will also help to turn more of our waste into valuable products.” 

The MMI is the centrepiece of the government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, designed to position Australia as a globally recognised, high-quality and sustainable manufacturing nation.

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