Over plastic? Try beeswax
Eighteen months ago, Hawke’s Bay couple Stacia Jensen and Miko Hayashi had no idea how big their beeswax wrap venture would grow.
Now, they are leading the charge towards using less plastic.
The pair have developed a food wrap that is plasticfree, reusable and compostable.
Jensen said the venture was borne out of a desire to reduce their own carbon footprints.
‘‘When you think about it, plastic actually hasn’t been around for that long. So we were curious as to what people did before plastic, which kind of led us in this direction.’’
The recipe includes locallysourced beeswax, as well as natural cotton, organic coconut oil and a tree resin called dammar gum.
Users are able to wash wraps with cold water and reuse them after they dry, with one being able to last an entire year, depending on care.
Sales started small – at a local farmers’ market – but the product quickly drew international interest.
The pair now sells online and to retailers in countries including China, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Hayashi said social media helped expand the business.
‘‘People hang out on Facebook and Instagram and places like that to find ideas and inspiration and different things, so our brand fits into that really well where it’s a topic of conversation in the world now anyway - the plastic issue.’’
The product is made at a warehouse in central Napier, where the pair employ a small, loyal team who help run customer service and administration.
Employee Monika Lakyova said the company received an enormous amount of positive feedback.
‘‘There’s lots of comments from parents whose kids take lunches to school with our LilyBee Wraps and it’s a chain reaction, because the other kids see that and they also want LilyBee Wraps.‘‘
Hayashi said the venture was about empowering people to make a small, but achievable change.
‘‘It’s that thing like one small habit that you change which can lead to the next habit and the next. So it sparks that desire to use less plastic [in other areas].’’
Motivation also came from wanting to give people an accessible option, Jensen said.
‘‘That’s one of the reasons we were really inspired to do it, was to give people a starting point.
‘‘Because there’s so many things that you can do, but where do you start? If it’s easier and works for the environment, it’s a win-win.’’
‘‘We were curious as to what people did before plastic, which kind of led us in this direction.’’ Stacia Jensen