Top sustainability award for producer of compostable alternative to plastic

A Norwich-based business that has engineered a plastic alternative using 100% plant-based materials has been awarded a top environmental award at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Celebrating Small Business Awards.

Solinatra triumphed in the Environmental/Sustainability Award category after impressing the judges with its sustainable solution to the pressing environmental problem of single use plastic.

The glittering annual FSB awards ceremony was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday 19 May, co-hosted by Clare Balding and JJ Chalmers, and addressed by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The business, which employs eight people, has created biodegradable and compostable material in response to the issues of plastic pollution and the need for a more circular economy. The material, developed at its Horsham St Faith R&D Centre, utilises plant waste and agricultural by-products as a base, and uses an efficient production process with a far lower carbon footprint than traditional plastics.

The product is now being used to make coffee capsules for Scottish brand Gordon St Coffee, which can be disposed of in a garden compost or food waste collections.

This year the business plans to engineer a range of disposable cutlery and drinking straws, as well as launch their innovative coffee pods with other British, European and US coffee brands.

Having already won the East of England regional final of FSB’s Celebrating Small Business Awards earlier this year, Solinatra has now beaten competition from area winners across the UK to scoop the national title in the Environmental/Sustainability Award category.

FSB’s Celebrating Small Business Awards is the most high-profile event of its kind nationally, with more than 3,000 entries, and showcases the best of small business entrepreneurship in every part of the UK.

Solinatra Chief Commercial Officer Simon Girdlestone said: “We are very excited to be recognised by FSB and win the top award in the environmental/sustainability category.

“Years of research and development have gone into the creation of an innovative material designed to be truly sustainable, and something we are really proud of.”

FSB National Chair Martin McTague, said: “The issue of plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. It’s great to see a small business taking on such a huge problem and creating something that not only is truly biodegradable, but also uses and diverts plant and agricultural waste to do so.

“The coffee capsule market is big business and creating an alternative that decomposes in the same time as a banana skin is really exciting. I want to congratulate all at Solinatra and wish them success as they continue to innovate and make a difference in the packaging industry.”

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