Will Unwasted be UK’s First Recycled Materials Unicorn?

Unwasted Limited, founded by Rod and Mary Fountain in 2018, aims to reduce the environmental impact of waste by transforming it into high-performance materials. The company has developed Neverwaste™, a patented material made entirely from waste cardboard and packaging that would otherwise be burned or landfilled. In the below press release, you will find the details on how Unwasted secured final seed round £72m Series A.

Unwasted, the producer of premium manufacturing materials from waste cardboard has strengthened its balance sheet ahead of the construction of its first full-scale production plant

  • Elbow Beach Capital has provided £1.5m in seed funding
  • Unwasted’s existing backers include the UK Government’s Future Fund
  • Round to be followed by a £72m Series A in April, valuing Unwasted at over £100m
  • £80m annual revenue target for first plant with 5 further sites to be operational by 2030
  • Unwasted aims to be the UK’s first recycled materials Unicorn

London, 24 January 2023 – Elbow Beach Capital, the decarbonization and sustainability investor has made a £1.5m investment into waste-to-material pioneers, Unwasted. The London-headquartered company, which converts waste cardboard into premium panel boards will benefit from a strengthened balance sheet and EBC’s commercial expertise ahead of its upcoming Series A.

Unwasted’s Neverwaste™ is the world’s first high-performance, mass-production panel board made entirely from waste cardboard and packaging. By refining and modifying the fibres of cardboard, Neverwaste™ avoids the use of glues, resins and toxic chemicals in the production of a premium-specification material for use in construction, furniture, kitchens and flooring.

Accelerated by the growth of e-commerce, average households now throw away 13,000 separate pieces of cardboard every year with cardboard and paper making up 41% of the solid waste stream worldwide. Much of this waste is either sent to landfill or burned, producing significant carbon emissions and wasting a potentially valuable feedstock.

Following the successful validation of its technology at its pilot manufacturing plant in Deeside, North Wales, the company aims to raise a £72m Series A through new and existing investors to build its first full-scale production plant in Denmark. The 75,000m2 site in Jutland will be fully powered by renewable energy and operate a closed loop water system, making it one of the most sustainable factory sites in the world.

The Jutland plant will convert 140,000 tonnes of waste cardboard into 160,000 m3 of panel boards every year, saving c.170,000 trees and c.150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Agreements are already in place with customers for the panels with the site expected to generate £80m in revenue per year from a single production line with the option to add a second line. Unwasted intends to have a minimum of five sites operational in Europe, Australia, and the US by 2030.

Rod Fountain, CEO of Unwasted commented:  “Unwasted’s mission is to produce a sustainable alternative to virgin wood-based panels which can be remade indefinitely without harm to the environment, and this funding round is an important step in achieving this goal. In Elbow Beach we have found like-minded partners who share our ambition and desire to make a meaningful contribution to the decarbonisation of the planet.”

Nick Charman, Chairman of Elbow Beach Capital, added: “With over fifteen years’ experience in the building industry and having seen many flawed environmental practices during that time, I am really pleased that Elbow Beach Capital is able to back the Unwasted team to help this critical industry become more sustainable. Unwasted simultaneously addresses two of the biggest sustainability challenges the world faces, namely deforestation and excess waste. By using waste cardboard as its main input, Unwasted has secured a cheap and abundant feedstock for the foreseeable future and can deliver genuine impact in making the construction and manufacturing industries more circular.” ”