Collaboration launches only certified British wool insulated packaging

A partnership between academics, a Yorkshire packaging firm and the national wool organisation has resulted in the launch of a new sustainable packaging liner – the only one of its type certified by British Wool.

The collaboration between University of Huddersfield, Puffin Packaging and the Bradford-based former British Wool Marketing Board began in February 2023.

Leeds-based Puffin Packaging manufactures insulating packaging as a cost effective, sustainable alternative to polystyrene.

The three organisations teamed up to establish a two-year partnership to develop more environmentally friendly, efficient packaging solutions through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

One year into the KTP, Puffin Packaging has launched its first new product under the collaboration – a pure British wool packaging liner.

Using a blend of wool from Swaledale and Welsh Mountain sheep, it is the only certified 100% British Wool cold chain insulated packaging product in the world.

A decision to use British wool was driven by a desire to find sustainable uses for the material while supporting farmers and preserving the tradition of British agriculture.

Two fresh food delivery companies will trial the new British wool insulated liners over the next few months.

The project involves working with the University of Huddersfield’s Technical Textiles Research Centre (TTRC).

Dr William Turner was appointed as KTP associate to the project, alongside academic lead Professor Parik Goswami, associate dean for research, innovation and knowledge exchange at University of Huddersfield and director of the university’s TTRC; and academic supervisor Dr Thanos Angelis-Dimakis, reader in chemical engineering from the university’s School of Applied Sciences.

Professor Goswami said: “This is an example where the University of Huddersfield, a local company Puffin Packaging, and British Wool (formerly British Wool Marketing Board), owned by approximately 35,000 sheep farmers in the UK, are working together to develop products that will benefit all the stakeholders in the supply chain and the consumers.

“It’s an excellent example of local manufacturing to solve contemporary global challenges through academic intervention.”

The objective of the partnership is to develop Puffin Packaging’s product range, concentrating on sustainable results, and improving performance, ultimately leading to innovative solutions and growth for Puffin Packaging.

The project consists of identifying, testing, and assessing thermally effective packaging solutions, which can be developed and scaled-up.

Yannis Archbold, co-founder of Puffin Packaging, said: “Together we have made significant understanding around the science of thermally insulated packaging.

“Applying this knowledge with the expertise between us, we have been able to produce a product that uses British wool, which has a far reduced environmental impact while at the same time being economically viable, which we hope will be of great benefit to both the UK farmers and customers who wish to support UK farmers.”

Andrew Hogley, CEO of British Wool, added: “We are always looking for new innovative uses for our wool and this type of development opens new markets.

“This increases demand for British wool and supports the returns we are able to make to our farmer members.”