• Circular economy: Zero buy, use, refill, reuse
    Circular economy: Zero buy, use, refill, reuse

Australian packaging start up Zero Co has raised $2m in seed funding as it moves into the production stage of its refillable ‘forever bottle' and pouches from recycled plastic.

The bottles are made from recycled plastic retrieved from the ocean, while the plastic pouches that contain the product are produced from recycled plastics diverted from landfill. Once a pouch has been fully-used it is sent back to Zero, who then replace it with a new full pouch to the customer, while the old one is made ready for re-use.

The pouches will be made by flexible packaging specialist OF Packaging. Joe Foster, MD of OF Packaging, told PKN the company has been involved from the start and it's very exciting to see the first batch of pouches off the production line already.

The Zero products compete directly with the off-the-shelf household name cleaning products that use single-use plastic bottles, which the brand typically takes no responsibility for once they are used up.

The $2m is the latest tranche of funding for the business, which aims to stop one million single use plastic containers from entering the supply chain. Manufacturing is now beginning in NSW, China, Denmark and Indonesia.

Zero Co founder Mike Smith had the idea while coming across reams of plastic waste as he travelled far flung parts of the world. He put $100,000 of his own money in, then launched what became Australia’s biggest kickstarter crowd fund, raising $740,000 from 7,000 private individuals.

The latest $2m investment comes from Skip Capital, the fund established by Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquar.

Zero charges between $105 and $149 for a starter pack of up to eight commonly used household cleaning products, which include a bathroom cleaner, air fresher and dishwasher tablets. A kit for four litres of laundry liquid goes for $41. The website is taking orders, with delivery imminent.

According to Zero a mere 12 per cent of the 200 single-use bottles of household products used in a typical home over a year are currently being recycled.

Food & Drink Business

Biripi Capital, Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned private equity firm, has closed an initial tranche of $20 million investment from the Hudson Food Group. It is believed to be the largest impact investment into an Aboriginal business ever made in Australia.

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation is calling for applications that address the 17 research, development & extension priorities identified by the fishing and aquaculture sector.

Regenerative food company Wide Open Agriculture has raised $20 million through institutional investors. It will use the funds to develop Western Australia’s first oat milk manufacturing plant.