A renewable packaging company that started on Dragon’s Den and now is part of Ice River’s group of companies has bought land in Dundalk’s Eco-Park.
By 2023, a plant that’s expected to employ about 20 people will open in Dundalk, turning out drinking straws that are part of the switch away from disposable plastics.
The move will bring production of the product back from off-shore, Southgate Council heard when it approved the sale of about 12 acres in the Eco-Park last week.
Greenlid has plans for a 50,000 sq.-ft. plant to be built in 2022 at an estimated construction cost of $3.5 million, the staff report said. Processing could start in early 2023.
The “non-soggy” drinking straws are actually stalks of straw, which will come from local fields, Ice River co-owner Sandy Gott told the Herald.
“Ice River Sustainable Solutions is excited to begin self-manufacturing our Greenlid product line from sustainable plant based materials like wheat straw which can be grown annually vs. tree based materials.
“This facility will be supplied from our own Osprey Organics farms as well as procuring from other farming operations in the larger region surrounding Dundalk.”
She said that Greenlid compostable fiber-based options helps Ice River Sustainable Solutions in its goat “to provide our customers with a wide range of food packaging and materials, from 100% recycled plastic from BMP to Greenlid compostable fibre based options.”
Ice River operates Blue Mountain Plastics which produces 100% recycled and recyclable packaging, and has other associated companies, including one which makes patio furniture from recycled bottle caps.
Plastics need to stay in the value chain and out of the environment, the company has said. Its bottling plants use 100 percent recycled plastics and are “zero-waste-to-landfill.”
Southgate EDO Terri Murphy gave the history of Greenlid in her report, and Ms Gott gave further details.
Brothers Morgan and Jackson Wyatt were featured on Dragons Den Season 9 in 2015, when their product was a disposable organics container. Morgan, who’s still involved in the company, has a PhD in the field of chemistry which helped them to develop a product that was both completely compostable and leak-proof.
All five “Dragon” investors were interested, and the pair accepted the offer from Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton.
Products now include many natural replacements for single-use plastic including plates and cutlery, which are sold both in stores and to food service companies.
“In 2016 Ice River Sustainable Solutions saw the potential in Greenlid’s offering to complement their zero waste sustainable organization,” Ms Gott commented. At that time as a shareholder, Ice River helped Greenlid grow sales and distribution.
When a single-use plastic ban came onto the horizon in Canada, interest in Greenlid “began to rapidly grow overnight.” That’s when Ice River bought Greenlid, to “bring the strength of their manufacturing expertise and entire organization to help grow the entire Ice River Portfolio of sustainable packaging products,” she said.
“Greenlid was officially acquired by IRSS in April 2021 and now looks forward to breaking ground in 2022 for their new Dundalk based sustainable products manufacturing plant.”
Morgan Wyatt stayed on as Greenlid CEO and a shareholder. He will continue to lead new product development and also oversee the building of the new production facility. The younger brother, Jackson, while still a small shareholder, has moved on to other interests.
The video is still available, along with an update done two years later. It’s on the CBC website on the page for Dragon’s Den – search for Greenlid.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald