Start-Ups to Watch – Sustainability Superstars Purging Single Use Plastic

Mar 8, 2022

The clock is ticking for Australia to eliminate single use plastic by 2025 and local start-ups are stepping up to help get the job done.

Earlier this year Australia agreed a national approach to phase out all single-use plastics by 2025 after a series of state commitments. The resulting National Plastics Plan 2021 aims to:

  • Completely phase out unnecessary single-use plastic
  • Ensure all packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • Double Australia’s annual recycling capacity
  • Improve education, including clearer labelling

Our reliance on plastic has been accelerating since the 1970’s and globally experts forecast this will continue to grow. According to the National Plastics Plan, Australia produces 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, equating to 100 kg per person. Of this, only 13% of plastic is recovered and 84% is sent to landfill. Around 130,000 tonnes of it leaks into the environment annually and by 2025 it’s predicted 99% of seabirds globally will have ingested plastic.

The new plan aligns with Australia’s existing 2025 National Packaging Targets being delivered in partnership with industry through the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). APCO is the not-for-profit leading Australia’s development of a circular economy for packaging.

Problem Solving Start-ups

Great minds have been working on some of our biggest plastic problems at home and in the boardrooms of our most innovative start-ups. Here’s a small section to watch:


They may be all the way from New Zealand, but they are not to be missed. Ethique is the startup that started it all. Back in 2012 when the world wasn’t so concerned about plastic and solid beauty bars weren’t a thing, the first Ethique solid shampoo bar, Mintasy, was made as an alternative to the 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles thrown out globally every year.


Founded by Brianne West, the company now sells solid soaps, shampoo and conditioner, skin and bodycare with more product launches planned. So far Ethique has saved over 13 million plastic bottles from entering landfill with the next goal half a billion by 2030. That’s not all – in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ethique launched its Super Soap Program, donating hand soap bars to vulnerable communities across New Zealand and the South Pacific to increase access to soap and hand washing.


Founded by Prisca Ongonga-Daehn, Baresop is a zero-waste personal care startup that aims to eliminate 1 billion single use plastic bottles from landfill around the world annually by 2023. With most hand, body and hair soap products made of 90 per cent water, the brand is solving the problem of shipping water and plastic around the world. Using patent-pending technology the company has crystallised the active ingredients of soap into a powdered formulation using only plant-based ingredients and native scents. You simply add water. Packaging is recyclable and sachets are certified home compostable.



Sisters Avril, Gillian and Louise founded Ecyo to remove single use plastic from the planet, reduce carbon in the atmosphere and lessen waste anxiety, one household at a time. The company is tackling plastic associated with household cleaning with an innovative concentrate solution that dissolves in the spray bottle itself. It’s 100% plastic free and all packaging is compostable.


Single Use Ain’t Sexy

Founded by Josh Howard, Single Use Aint Sexy has a unique way to rid the world of single-use plastic bottles. According to the company, Aussies wash their hands almost 200 million times every day and Single Use Ain’t Sexy offers an eco-friendly way to do it – without plastic bottles. It works by dropping a dissolving hand soap tablet into a white reusable glass bottle filled with tap water, creating a rich foaming hand wash (which is lightly scented with aloe essence, jasmine flower or sweet coconut).

single use aint sexy

Zero Co

Zero Co aims to “un-trash the planet” by tackling the single use plastic problem in our kitchens, laundry and bathrooms by delivering cleaning products in refillable pouches. Conceived by cofounder Mike Smith and brought to life with his wife Alyssa Carter and team members Kate and Alana, Zero Co sells recycled plastic dispenser bottles and refill pouches made from recycled plastic.

The reusable refill pouches are made from plastic waste diverted from landfill and are designed to be refilled and reused over and over again. The dispensers are made from plastic rubbish that the company has pulled out of the ocean, beaches and landfill. Zero Co even has an innovative Trace Your Cleanups™ program where Each Zero Co dispenser has a tracking code to show consumers which part of the planet they’ve helped un-trash. It works by entering the code on the back of the dispenser to see which part of the planet the plastic comes from.


Developed by Field Tech Solutions, Biogone™ is a product range of landfill-biodegradable or home compostable everyday plastic products. Products are either made from recycled plastic or plant-based materials. They can be reused, most can be recycled, and most importantly, they all biodegrade into organic matter producing a natural fertiliser – with no microplastics! The idea was conceived by Dr Ross Headifen, creator of one of the biggest community litter collection volunteer groups in Melbourne, Beach Patrol, and brought to life with partner, Field Tech Solutions cofounder John Mancarella and his passionate team.

You can find some of these companies exhibiting at Naturally Good 2022, 6-7 June at ICC Sydney. Register free here and discover the latest sustainable and innovative products ready to stock on your shelves. 

Lisa Crawford Jones is an award-winning journalist, business consultant, and Content Manager to Naturally Good.

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