Spanish entrepreneur makes edible packaging based on algae

by Lorraine Williamson
edible packaging

MADRID – A Spanish entrepreneur, Rodrigo García González, has come up with an innovative solution to replace plastic: algae. With this natural source, he has developed a polymer with which he can produce edible or soluble packaging. 

The new material is so effective that it won a major award in the UK, where he established his company, Notpla. García González explains to rtve.es: “For example, we can make a wrapper for pasta. If you put it directly in the pan, the wrapper starts to dissolve.” 

Replacement of single-use plastic 

Founded 9 years ago in London and using the slogan ‘We make plastic disappear’, Notpla focuses on replacing single-use plastics. “We started making packaging for liquids. This, for example, is water. And the beauty of this packaging is that you can eat it,” says the entrepreneur, showing and consuming an edible water capsule. 

Highlight during the London Marathon 

One of the company’s highlights was at the 2022 London Marathon, where 100,000 of its water capsules were distributed to the participants. Not a single plastic bottle was left on the floor. 

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Advantages of algae as raw material 

García González emphasises the benefits of algae as a raw material: “Algae are a very efficient natural resource. They do not need fresh water, grow in the sea, do not require human intervention, can be harvested several times a year and some species even grow up to two metres per day.” Thanks to this innovation, Notpla won the £1 million ‘Earthshot’ prize, awarded by the Prince of Wales, in the ‘Waste-Free World’ category. 

In addition to the water capsules, the company’s star product is a food box, lined with an algae film instead of plastic, which is already sold in eight countries, including Spain. 

Also read: Spaniard’s success story making work of ‘underwater scrap’ 

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