Episode 7 - Replacing 2 billion pieces of single-use plastic
This week, I have a short discussion with Dr Shafali Gupta and Andy Epifani. Together they're the co-founders of Uuvipak, a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastics.
We chat about the plastic problem, the rapid trajectory of the company, why Uuvipak is genuinely biodegradable, making and tasting edible plastic alternatives, and sharing an inspirational message for all the kids out there.
Shafali and Andy have recently completed the Blackbird Giants program, won the Nespresso Startcup Challenge, and on the day of publishing have just been accepted into the Queensland Government’s Low Carbon Accelerator.
To protect their intellectual property, we couldn't broadcast more about the materials and processes behind Uuvipak. However, if you enjoy this conversation, I encourage anyone interested in finding out more, to get in touch with the founders. They can be followed or contacted through Linkedin above, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
The video mentioned showing a puppy eating an Uuvipak (Video | 2 mins)
About the well-known Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Article | 1 min)
Unintended consequences of relying on microorganisms to break down plastic (Article | 4 mins)
More on the different kinds of plastic pollution and their impacts (Article | 8 mins)
Human health impacts from ingesting microplastics (Article | 5 mins)
PHA and PLA, that make up the existing biodegradable alternatives
[00:01:37] - [First question] – What is Uuvipak?
[00:03:00] - Uuvipak’s take on the existing plastic problem, and where they fit in as a solution
[00:06:05] - Observing the problem personally and dreaming up the idea during covid lockdowns
[00:07:20] - The complementary backgrounds of the founders
[00:08:21] - Starting the company from the kitchen, to a garage, to raising money and winning awards in the last year
[00:11:22] - Quandaries around entering the Nespresso Startcup Challenge
[00:12:47] - The story behind the unique name
[00:13:40] - The biodegradable nature of Uuvipak’s materials
[00:15:14] - Comparing Uuvipak with other “biodegradable” packaging
[00:17:33] - Making the packaging edible, and taste-testing the early prototypes
[00:20:05] - Next steps for Uuvipak - growth, partnerships, and recruitment
[00:22:20] - A vision of eliminating new plastic production, and a cleaner world
[00:23:12] - A call to action for any young visionaries to step up
[00:24:04] - Getting in touch with Uuvipak - socials