In a significant step for eco-friendly packaging solutions, PlantSea, a Welsh startup, has been awarded On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) certification for its seaweed-based packaging.

OPRL said PlantSea is the “first company to use the OPRL ‘Recycle’ label” for such a material, highlighting its potential to replace traditional paper and card in various applications such as stationery, boxes, and bags.

The packaging is manufactured from a blend of seaweed-derived fibres with recycled and virgin paper pulp. This combination has been tested under the CEPI v2 protocol, confirming its compatibility with standard paper mill recycling processes.

“It is always exciting to see innovation and the successful application of novel materials in packaging,” commented Alice Harlock, director of Technical and Member Services at OPRL.

“As businesses look to adapt or replace current packaging types to meet sustainability goals or legislation, OPRL is keen to support them with labelling that helps consumers make the right choices around recycling.”

“Achieving the OPRL label has been a huge boost,” said Gianmarco Sanfratello, PlantSea’s co-founder and CTO.

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“It is easy to claim that products are fully recyclable, but independent assessment brings a credibility that is especially valuable for a startup and innovation business. It helps us to demonstrate our commitment to honesty and to giving consumers a choice.”

The use of seaweed in PlantSea’s packaging adds another layer of sustainability. The seaweed is a byproduct sourced from the UK’s aquaculture industry, which itself contributes to the health of aquatic life and marine conservation efforts.

This development extends beyond paper and card. PlantSea is exploring the potential of seaweed in other applications, including water-soluble films and agricultural mulch.

OPRL Ltd is the entity behind the UK-wide OPRL scheme, a programme utilised by more than 750 member companies and charities.