Published: July 2019 (2 Min Read)

Skipping Rocks Lab is a London-based start-up and an example of the multi-national entrepreneurial spirit in Britain today. They make a material called Notpla, which is made from seaweed and plants, and they are trying to commercialise it.

Notpla is so called because it is Not Pla-stic and disappears naturally within weeks.

I saw them at Chatham House last year during an event about plastics and watched one of them drink water from a container and then eat the container. The audience was really impressed. Their materials are designed to be home compostable and to serve as alternatives to standard single-use packaging.

This year they handed out Lucozade capsules at the London Marathon.

“We were inspired by the way nature encapsulates liquids by using membranes, from egg yolk to cells or fruits, and…..decided to apply those techniques to packaging.”

The team met whilst both studying Innovation Design Engineering Masters at Imperial College in 2012 and received business support through the college’s Venture Catalyst Challenge, which helped with legal advice, business development and part funding their first patent filing.

Now they are a team of 14, with a lab in Bethnal Green. They have developed an industrial machine to make the packages and are preparing for roll out. They have raised over £2m through equity and grants.

“The best bit is seeing the products that we create being used. To date we’ve sold 40,000 packages for running events, festivals, retail and take away.

For example, with Just Eat we were able to distribute about 6,000 sachets, so that’s 6,000 people who haven’t contributed a one-time plastic sachet to the landfill. It’s quite an exciting thought!”