Better Together: Little Green Panda
To celebrate Earth Day, we met with Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu, Co-Founder and CEO of Little Green Panda (LGP). Doing her incredible part to look after the earth, Manon founded LGP "on the belief that single use products shouldn't be made to last". Her journey on re-imagining disposable plastics in a sustainable way has begun with straws...
Would you mind giving a short introduction of yourself for the folks across Australia?
Hi I'm Manon, CEO and Co-Founder at Little Green Panda (LGP for short!). I never understood why something that is used once, is engineered to last for centuries. LGP was founded on the belief that single-use products shouldn’t be made to last. 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our ocean every year! That equates to 4 million Jeeps every single year! Crazy.
Overwhelmed by where to begin, I decided to tackle an item that I used to use everyday: plastic straws. (guilty of charge!) It wasn't until I worked in the fashion industry, I saw the monumental amount of waste the industry produces. I noticed an opportunity to use the excess straws from making hats and bags which usually gets burnt or thrown away. Instead, we’ve repurposed these straws to help combat a huge environmental problem - single use packaging. Meet the amazing farmers who handmake LGP straws here!
What does it mean to be Australian to you?
Although I am originally from France and moved to Melbourne 8 years ago (gosh time flies by!), I do feel apart of the community! The people are so lovely and welcoming here which explains why I haven’t left!
Tell us about your straws. What makes you guys unique?
2.5 years ago I discovered a viable, sustainable solution that was used way before synthetic materials were even a thing. I went back, dug deep (literally, into the ground) and launched a range of 100% plant-based straws made of wheat, sugarcane and bamboo. Unlike others on the market, our plant-based straws are made entirely from agricultural waste with a low carbon footprint. They’re durable just like plastic, 100% compostable and biodegradable, water resistant for up to 24 hours and are even ocean friendly - if they accidentally wind up there! Our sustainable straws are not only show stoppers, they're handcrafted with love and support female artisans in rural areas by providing them with a second source of income.
We currently supply to thousands of venues in the hospitality industry. Our clients range from boutique distilleries like Four Pillars Gin, cafe venues like STREAT to hotel empires such as Crown Casino. Our first product is drinking straws and to work towards our vision, we’re expanding the product range horizontally by offering innovative alternatives to disposable products that are 100% home compostable, biodegradable and comply with the new single-use plastic legislations. Exciting times ahead!
What is the goal in what you do or the message you hope to get out?
We’re on a mission to re-imagine disposable plastic in a sustainable way by repurposing agricultural waste into innovative products. One of our goals is to challenge the status quo by introducing a range of 100% home compostable and biodegradable straws that will disappear naturally into the soil in less the 90 days. The best part? Thousands of venues have realised the negative impact single-use plastic creates and have made the switch to our plant-based solutions instead! #plantsoverplastic
Who are some local heroes or brands that inspire you?
I adore the Who Gives A Crap legends and their mission to preserve forests from the bottom up whilst helping build toilets in the developing world. I love how they made TP a trendy product that individuals and venues want in their bathroom!
Katy Barfield from Yume Food is such an inspirational woman and a food waste warrior who is diverting millions of surplus food from going into landfill. I remember listening to her talk at a conference prior to starting LGP and thought she was incredibly passionate in what she does and stands for. And of course, our friends at CAPI! I’ve been a loyal drinker of CAPI ever since I moved to Melbourne and love the values they stand for. For those who don’t know, they also have a really awesome cellar bar in their office called the CAPI hour which I highly recommend to check out someday!
What’s your go to CAPI Cocktail?
I recently tried a Spritz mixed with Brookie's Byron Slow Gin and a CAPI soda. Heaven!
Find out more about the incredible work Manon and her team are doing here!