Home » Unwasted turns cardboard junk into high performance panels

Unwasted turns cardboard junk into high performance panels

by Sion Geschwindt

London-based startup Unwasted secures £1.5m to convert waste cardboard into high-performance panels. And this is only the beginning…

7 million tonnes of cardboard end up in the UK’s landfills every year. But this is a missed opportunity, says London-based startup Unwasted.

The company has a developed a way to convert waste cardboard and packaging into high-performance panel boards for use in construction, furniture, kitchens, and flooring.  

The company, which is rapidly scaling, has just raised £1.5m in seed funding as it looks to open several full-scale production plants across Europe, the US and Australia.

The startup is already backed by the UK Government’s Future Fund. This fresh funding was provided by Elbow Beach Capital.

According to the company, this initial investment is only the beginning – Unwasted is aiming to secure £72m in a Series A round to be announced in April.

“Unwasted’s mission is to produce a sustainable alternative to virgin wood-based panels which can be remade indefinitely without harm to the environment,” explained CEO Rod Fountain.

With its Neverwaste product, Unwasted is refining and modifying the fibres of cardboard, all the while avoiding the use of glues, resins, and toxic chemicals to produce a premium-specification building material.

Following the successful validation of its technology at its pilot manufacturing plant in Deeside, North Wales, Unwasted looks looks to build its first full-scale production plant in Denmark.

The 75,000m2 site in Jutland will be fully powered by renewable energy and operate a closed-loop water system, making it one of the most sustainable factory sites in the world, said the startup.

The Jutland plant will convert 140,000 tonnes of waste cardboard into 160,000 m3 of panel boards every year, saving c.170,000 trees and c.150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. 

According to Unwasted, they’ve already secured a number of customers who are expected to take delivery of the panels, ultimately generating £80m in revenue per year from a single production line.

With these projections in mind, Unwasted is aiming to become the UK’s first recycled materials Unicorn.

On the investment, Elbow Beach Capital Chairman Nick Charman commented: “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.”

Read next: ‘From bin to BIM’: The future of construction is circular and digital

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