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18 September, 2018 - 20:45 By Kate Sweeney

BeeBee creates a buzz with reusable beeswax food wrap

A startup launched from Kath Austin’s Cambridge kitchen is gaining traction with a reusable beeswax food wrap that is a sustainable alternative to single-use plastics.

The business has really started to buzz since a tie-up with product design innovator Cambridge Consultants.

Cambridge Consultants has designed a bespoke manufacturing process that enables production to be accelerated by a factor of 30 while remaining consistent with the sustainability principles driving the business.

Austin cooked up the idea in her kitchen in 2017, since when BeeBee Wraps has enjoyed remarkable growth. Starting life as a busy grassroots operation, the technology innovation has since found a loyal community of customers and advocates. The materials used are sustainable and ethically sourced and at the end of their life can simply be composted. 

But with an uncompromising approach to sustainability and product quality, continued expansion required a breakthrough in production methods. The Cambridge Consultants’ project team quickly established that off-the-shelf solutions would not be suitable with a difficult organic matter such as beeswax. 

Instead the team used sustainability-led mechanical design and process improvement expertise to build a unique, energy efficient production system that improves the quality and consistency of the BeeBee Wraps product, whilst radically speeding up production. 

The new process enables one person to produce a day’s worth of material in just 15 minutes, around 30 times faster than the current method. This ability to scale up ensures BeeBee Wraps is future-proofed and able to fulfil rising customer demand in the foreseeable future.

Cameron Watson, project team leader at Cambridge Consultants

Cameron Watson, project team leader at Cambridge Consultants, said: “This is the sort of project that really energises our team. It’s an opportunity to deliver a solution that really makes a difference to a growing business.

“In keeping with the sustainability credentials of our client and their product, we also wanted to ensure that the resulting process improvement would not only be efficient but also improve quality, a vital measure for a product designed for conscious re-use.” 

Kath Austin added: “BeeBee Wraps began as a kitchen-table enterprise and has experienced enormous growth in a short span of time. Scaling production to meet growing demand meant working alongside experts in the field to guarantee we hit the ground running. 

“The chance to work with Cambridge Consultants was like standing on the shoulders of giants. The team delivered meticulously tested results consistent with our environmental mission and we’re looking to the future with confidence, with an efficient, sustainable and rapid manufacturing process.”

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