20 November 2020

Funding from Innovate UK’s £191m sustainable innovation fund for award-winning tampliner

Company together with experts from Imperial College London to further develop its award-winning tampliner to reach the highest standards of sustainability

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Period-care brand Callaly is a B Corp, a profit-making company that’s committed to using business as a force for good. The company will receive a portion of Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovate Fund, to further develop its award-winning tampliner to reach the highest standards of sustainability, with the help of independent experts from Imperial College London.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.

Pioneering UK-based start-up Callaly, which has received £173,778, set out to reinvent period care with the launch of the tampliner, the first meaningful reinvention of the tampon in 90 years. The tampliner is a new 2-in-1 period product that combines an organic cotton tampon with a soft mini-liner for extra protection against leaks.

Currently all components of the tampliner are biodegradable, with the exemption of one item; the virtual applicator. This cylindrical sheath is key to the innovative tampliner, providing a breathable ultra-thin membrane that secures the tampon to the mini-liner component of the product. The tampliner sheath is currently made from a non-sustainable polymer but with this Innovate UK funding, Callaly can now investigate and test a number of possible biodegradable formulations to develop a plastic-free alternative.

This research & development will be supported by experts in sustainable plastics from Imperial College London and experts in non-wovens engineering from Leeds based Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI).

Thang Vo-Ta, Founder and CEO of Callaly commented: “We are thrilled to receive this grant from Innovate UK to test and develop a new biodegradable sheath for the tampliner that we can integrate into our bespoke manufacturing and production process. As a B Corp, we always hold ourselves to the highest standards and to be able to achieve a fully-biodegradable tampliner would be a significant breakthrough for greater sustainability in the period care market, not to mention benefits for further applications in medical treatment and clinical research.”

Dr. Romain from Imperial College London’s Department of Chemistry who, along with Professor Britovsek was commissioned through Imperial Consultants to provide their independent expertise on the project said “Prof. Britovsek and I are excited to be working with Callaly to help identify strategies to improve the sustainability of their innovative period care products”.

Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.

Callaly, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development.”

Source: Bioplastics MAGAZINE, 2020-11-11.

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