The trend towards more breeds of meat sheep in Australia is creating new opportunities for coarse, low-value wool that might otherwise end up in landfill.
Coarse, low value wool can be recycled in thermal packaging as an alternative to polystyrene
Perth-based chemist has developed a process to dissolve wool into liquid amino acids
Wool-based packaging can be used to insulate products like meat, seafood, chocolate and medicines
Sydney-based Planet Protector Packaging has won nearly $ 5 million in a federal government manufacturing grant to build the nation’s first processing plant designed for wool that is not suitable for clothing.
Managing Director Joanne Howarth said supply chain disruptions and increased freight made offshore processing in China unsustainable.
“Twenty years ago, when he went to China, there were no environmental regulations, the labor was very cheap and it was easy. It was a quick fix for things to be. abroad. That has changed now, “she said.
“China has a lot of stricter regulations and the factories we work with, in fact, have power restrictions, and they can only trade six hours a day.”
The company manufactures wool felt packaging as an alternative to plastics and polystyrene.
It responds to a growing demand for sustainable insulation of perishable products such as meat, seafood and medicines.
“I think it’s because of the government that people are finally listening, that we need to reclaim our sovereign manufacturing capacity here,” Ms. Howarth said.
The company hoped to raise an additional $ 5-6 million in crowdfunding next year to build a coarse wool cleaning and processing facility for packaging as well as a range of other products.
Liquid fertilizer for wool
One of their new clients could be a Perth-based start-up that has launched a process to dissolve wool into liquid amino acids.
Inventor chemist Ramiz Boulos said amino acids are widely used in food supplements, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
His company Veritan is already marketing a wool-based liquid fertilizer, which will soon be independently tested on large crops such as wheat and barley.
“However, we’re still in the early days of really ramping up our manufacturing and realizing economies of scale and really seeing if we can match the price of other products,” he said.
The company planned to list on the Australian Stock Exchange before the end of the year to raise up to $ 500,000 to expand into manufacturing other products, including an alternative to wool-based plastic.
He recently resigned from the board of directors of a company he started in 2014 to develop a new type of antibiotic he discovered, which is in development as a treatment for a common “superbug” known as the name of Clostridium Difficile, which causes millions of infections around the world each year.
He remains a 35 percent shareholder of Boulos and Cooper, which has proven in animal testing that its drug can kill the dangerous intestinal virus. He now wants to focus on amino acids made from wool.
Call Australia home
Dr Boulos fled the civil war in Sudan at the age of 16 in 1999 and the Australian government granted him humanitarian refugee status.
His family had lived in Sudan since the late 19th century, but as ethnic Egyptian Coptic Christians, they were persecuted when Sudan adopted Sharia law.
“Part of the new laws they introduced prohibited anyone from having foreign currency. There were people who were found with US dollars, and they were executed.”
He hoped his findings would help repay Australia for his higher education and a life of freedom and opportunity.
“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me, coming to Australia is.”
“I have found it is a place that has a very welcoming culture, that offers many opportunities, is safe, there is the freedom to do whatever you want and the sky is the limit. You work hard and you get seats. “