Neoprene pallet covers have been designed to fit an Australian standard size pallet of 1165 x 1165mm, however, due to the simplistic design they can also be created with ease to fit an ever-increasing array of differing pallet sizes entering the Australian market from Europe and Asia. The covers can be used on pallets at full capacity or be adjusted to a smaller packed pallet without affecting the stability of transit goods. This decreases breakages during transhipment and assists with the prevention of employee injuries resulting from the use of unstable pallets wrapped with plastic which are not as secure to use as the covers. The padded jackets have the added advantage of being used as an insulation for the company’s 1000 litre fermentation kombucha containers, which reduces energy consumption for product brewing.
Their ability to eliminate plastic use aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 12 - Responsible Consumption. The covers have a life span of approximately 10 years, however continual cost-effective maintenance will extend their longevity without affecting the integrity of the covers. The use of these covers has reduced the company’s plastic wrap consumption to zero, eliminating prior plastic wrap usage from ending up in landfills. The company also promotes SDG number 9; Innovation and Infrastructure. Currently there are no other covers of this type available on the market, The Good Brew Company are the first to create and use these pallet covers, providing a solution to an increasing use of plastic wraps by other companies due its cost and ease of access.
The inspiration was born out of a desire to have every possible aspect of The Good Brew Company implementing sustainable practices. Dean stated, “Every stage of the production line is sustainable, however at the end we were wrapping our pallets in plastic”. This is not an environmentally friendly process; therefore, a solution was required to combat this step." Consequently, after some research Dean created the neoprene cover, eliminating the requirement for plastic wrap completely from their assembly processes.
In the short term the company has reduced its pallet plastic wrap usage to zero. One pallet requires approximately 54 meters of plastic wrap, this equates to 3500 metres of plastic saved on a yearly basis for this small business enterprise. Furthermore, as Dean explained “Not only do the covers keep stock safely together and bundled nicely on a pallet, but they also keep kombucha at the right temperature. If refrigerated products travel in a non-refrigerated truck, they stay cold, or we can keep products warm because the covers are black and when we put them out in the sun, because it’s a solar heater, they will incubate my kombucha because its fizzy.” The company has also started using the covers as insulative jackets for their 1000 litre intermediate bulk containers used for brewing kombucha. These added benefits reduce the company’s energy requirements.
Long term, ideally the inventor envisages a market where all organisations using pallet wrap could substitute it for neoprene covers, however, due to the cost outlay, currently The Good Brew Company is the only organisation using them for deliveries between business to business and ensuring that the covers are returned. Dean embraces a scheme similar to the blue pallet system. If Governments provide support for environmental initiatives such as rolling out neoprene covers based on the same blue pallet concept it would benefit communities through increasing employment opportunities and dramatically reduce plastic consumption and consequently the companies' environmental footprint. Therefore, a blue pallet scheme would attract other companies through returns on quality and low costs consisting of subscription charges and weekly rent, making it an affordable option whilst contributing to environmental sustainability. Currently in Australia annual plastic wrap consumption is approximately 3,024,000,000 metres of plastic which ends up in landfill.
The greatest benefit to the company is its environmental footprint reduction. The neoprene covers are currently 5 years old and have not paid for themselves yet, however as Dean stated, “I decided I would always do whatever it took to keep the environment healthy before I worried about the bottom line.” However, despite the fact that the covers have not yet been paid off in a monetary sense, Dean went on to say “every sustainable practice I have implemented into my business has eventually paid for itself. Unfortunately, the cost of plastic wrap is inexpensive, and these covers will take a while to pay off, they were not created for monetary purpose but as a continued commitment to sustainability. Furthermore, for a company that promotes sustainability throughout their business, creating these covers made sense. They further strengthened the processes and made the procedures within the business environmentally friendly providing my staff with a feeling that we are doing right in the world and this is an important aspect of The Good Brew Company."
Although The Good Brew Company is a small enterprise, reducing their plastic usage to zero is an impressive goal they have accomplished. Furthermore, the covers have the added benefit of decreasing their need for external energy as they provide both cooling and warming capacity, something that is needed during the production stages of kombucha. Dean is passionate about the environment and the company’s environmental impact declaring “We are doing everything we can to minimise our footprint on the Earth so that people can keep doing things we do into infinity.”
Dean O’Callaghan, Founder
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Brunswick, Victoria, AU
Business Website: https://goodbrew.com.au/
Year Founded: 2011
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
The Good Brew Company’s neoprene pallet covers have been specifically designed to eliminate the need to use plastic wraps when shipping palleted goods. In addition, they have the ability to regulate the temperature of palleted kombucha brewed by the company without the need for further energy. A strong durable material with a long-life span and the ability to be repaired further enhances their environmental sustainability footprint.