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The Wool Challenge: Naturesclip's replacement for bubble wrap, OceanWool

The Wool Challenge: Naturesclip's replacement for bubble wrap, OceanWool

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what wool product company Naturesclip came up with – a replacement for bubble wrap, OceanWool.

Just the tip of the iceberg

Have you ever used bubble wrap? Did you know the amount of bubble wrap that is produced annually is enough to wrap around the equator ten times? What about plastic packaging? Every year, eight million metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. And what about those stupid plastic beer can rings and the net-things sleeved onto your fine alcohol and spirit tipple bottles?

The Ellen McArthur Foundation has estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight). Over half of this plastic is from plastic packaging.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Wool packaging

Wool is universally naturally and biodegradable and we are the best producers of it in the world. Wool is made of protein (called kertain). In the ocean, wool breaks down and is naturally consumed by living organisms as food and by the acidity of salt water. 

This project set out to reinvent the forever-clever bubble wrap, those liquor nets and all of the many everyday packaging items by creating a new, 100% natural and infinitely biodegradable packaging solution to combat this global addiction to plastic. 

NaturesClip set out to reinvent bubble wrap, those liquor nets and all of the many everyday packaging items by creating a new, 100 percent natural and infinitely biodegradable packaging solution to combat this global addiction to plastic. 

OceanWool is for environmentally conscious brands and consumers who hate plastic, and is made through a unique process whereby wool is simply washed, combed and processed to form a fully pliable medium that can be cut, pressed, formed and moulded to create endless packaging possibilities. These materials can be customised to suit almost any application, while being safe below the surface.

Inspired by New Zealand's image and the beautiful colours found in marine coral, we grabbed an iconic Kiwi beverage bottle to illustrate the raw potential of this new ubble wool cushioning and consumer packaging solution. Like the famous quote by the founder of 42 Below ‘Every bastard says no’ – NaturesClip wants to encourage everybody to say no to plastic packaging and replace it with a solution like this that is safe below the surface.

Designers and contributors: Blythe Rees-Jones, Luke Morreau, Dan Gillingham and Nathan Collier.

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