PKN talks Packaging that Protects the Planet with Joanne Howarth, Founder & CEO of Planet Protector Packaging.

In this episode, PKN Managing Editor & Publisher Lindy Hughson is joined by Joanne Howarth, the Founder & CEO of Planet Protector Packaging.

Joanne is an entrepreneur with big passion determined to make a big impact.

Joanne Howarth, CEO and Founder, Planet Protector Packaging.
Joanne Howarth, CEO and Founder, Planet Protector Packaging.

Joanne explains how she was driven to find a planet-friendly form of packaging through her extensive use of polystyrene packaging for cold chain distribution in her previous role. This led her to research the use of sheep’s wool as a natural thermal insulator, allowing her to convert otherwise discarded belly wool into Woolpack, a lining material for boxes that can be recycled or composted.

Woolpack delivers superior performance to polystyrene for thermal packaging and is currently being used by clients shipping dairy products, meat, seafood and pharmaceuticals. It was recently featured as a case study with the World Wildlife Fund Australia's "Plastic: Revolution to Reality" report while the Lobster Protector variant won the gold medal award in the Food Design of the Year category at the 2020 Australasian Packaging and Innovation Design (PIDA) Awards,

Joanne was recently named one of the seven winning laureates of the 2020 Cartier Women’s Initiative, the French jeweller’s international business program aimed at uncovering, recognising and supporting women entrepreneurs worldwide. This has provided her with new business connections and led to working with the UN's Industrial Development Organisation to support their sustainability development goals.

Planet Protector is currently working with the Tasmanian government to replace polystyrene as part of the state's sustainable packaging initiative and is in the process of establishing a production site in Tasmania to reduce the cost of transporting packaging from the mainland. They are also seeking capital to move into the South East Asian market with a particular interest in Mongolia due to the volume of wool the country produces.

We wrap up by discussing the importance of government support to help incentivise organisations to use sustainable packaging. Momentum is slowly gathering with Australian companies, but we are lagging behind New Zealand where the supermarkets have mandated the removal of polystyrene packaging for all products supplied to them.

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