COP26: Glasgow business woman on a roll with reusable packed lunch product

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An award winning Glasgow reusable packed lunch company that also teaches prisoners new manufacturing skills is hoping COP26 will change people’s attitudes to recycling.

ReWrap It, was launched by mum of three Shona Forbes, after noticing how much plastic was being used when making her children’s lunches.

Instead of using countless wrappings of clingfilm, Shona created a sandwich wrapper using a polycotton fabric for the outside while the liner is made from a low-density polyethylene material.

An Example of One of  The Wrappers.

Shona said: “It’s very long lasting. I’ve had people use them for six or seven years and they’re still going strong.

When the stitching does go, you can rip out the liner and it’s in the widely recyclable category so the whole thing can be recycled.”

Asked if COP26 might make an impact on her business, the landscape architect was hopeful that it would and thinks the panic of the climate crisis will push people towards trying to live more sustainably.

She’s also hopeful of proposed government single-use packaging regulations.

Children enjoying their lunch with ReWrap It’s product, The Wrapper.

Re-Wrap It is primarily targeted towards parents with young children in school, as can be seen with designs appealing to children.

A lot of the pressure to avert the climate crisis is coming from young people themselves as seen through the popularity of Greta Thunberg.

Shona is optimistic that they may persuade their parents to purchase longer lasting, environmentally-friendly products, such as The Wrapper.

“I think being self-employed, you always have to think about when things go wrong – what’s my plan B? As a smaller business, having your finger in lots of different pies is important.”

On top of this, the business is also giving back to the community.

Re-Wrap It is partnered with Kilmarnock Prison, where inmates are taught skills, receive an SQA qualification in Industrial Sewing and are paid for their work in the manufacture of the product.

Shona added: “It’s a complete win-win situation. Interestingly, a few years ago I met a lady and her nephew was in Kilmarnock Prison. He is now out of prison and he set up a company making curtains based on the skills he learned in prison.”

The Knightswood business woman isn’t stopping there though with the The Wrapper.

She’s on a mission to change our habits from lunch making to gift wrapping papers saying we should revert back to the old days and use newspapers and learn how to mend our holey socks and jumpers.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, back in March 2020, the company was ahead of the curve as she started designing face coverings before they were made mandatory.

“I think being self-employed, you always have to think about when things go wrong – what’s my plan B? As a smaller business, having your finger in lots of different pies is important.”

Advice Shona would give to starting a small business:

  • Don’t be shy but be realistic. Even if you love the product, you have to make everyone else love it too. Shona started small, not even getting a loan from the bank, to see if her new venture would cause interest. She tested the market by selling at school fairs with a stock of 10-15.
  • Get involved in groups such as Business Gateway, Scottish Women in Business, Scottish Enterprise, there’s lots of free advice out there for start-up small businesses. The programme that Shona herself used was Entrepreneurial Spark.
  • Enter competitions and get your name out there. Re-Wrap It recently won an award from the Sun for The Best Kitchen Table Entrepreneur Business. Get in touch with journalists to get your business out there.

If you ‘re interested in ReWrap It, their website can be found here.

All images belong to ReWrap It and Shona Forbes, all parties included featured in the images consented to their image being used.

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