With all its team members below the age of 25, some might say Sheedo has done impressively to persuade the likes of Telefónica and Coca-Cola to get on board with their product, a “seed paper” that can be planted in order to put an end to single-use paper.
“We want to give disposable paper a new lease of life,” explained Gonzalo Mestre, CEO of Sheedo.
Made from residual cotton from the textile industry, Sheedo’s seed paper doesn’t require trees to be cut down nor does it involve toxic bleaching — it’s a 100% sustainable product and it ends up germinating into a plant at the end of its life.
The idea has evolved and diversified to the point where a “sowing kit”, “earth pills”, and “plantable chocolates” are now among the products Sheedo is offering companies to help make a difference. However, the road has been a long one, demanding constant innovation, reinvention, and problem-solving.
The product was initially fraught with risk and uncertainty
Gonzalo Mestre was a university student looking at innovating sustainable espadrilles with a partner when he came across plantable seed paper. Although the product he stumbled on couldn’t be printed let alone marketed, Mestre “fell in love with the concept”.
From that moment, the partners had a vision for how they might shape a product but had almost no information on how it would work, so they asked themselves: “what if we just do it?”
The first obstacle to overcome was to get the paper printed without destroying the seed. At the beginning, they were strongly tempted to throw in the towel: “if no one is doing it, it’s because it can’t be done” was what they thought to themselves at one point, according to Mestre.
But then they found someone who could, Antonio Sardá, a Catalonian expert in paper-making with a career spanning over 40 years. In conjunction with the Sheedo team, he found an exact formula to create a paper capable of holding chamomile seeds, that could later germinate. The next challenge would be to find customers. Initially, Mestre thought his product was perfect for florists.
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