Our Islands, Our Future

With the holiday gift-giving season just around the corner, a Kula entrepreneur has found a way to take 100 percent recyclable and compostable newsprint from local presses, like The Maui News, add great patterns on wrapping paper and bring a smile to gift givers and receivers alike. “Renewable newsprint is an answer to the 4 million tons of trash attributed to gift wrap and shopping bags every year — a piece of newsprint can be recycled seven times,” said Sara Smith, founder and CEO of Wrappily. “Conventional wrapping paper can not be recycled on Maui, or anywhere in Hawaii, meaning every holiday season our landfills get inundated. With Wrappily, wasted wrapping paper can be composted in local gardens or recycled with newspapers.”

Smith launched her business a year ago, around Thanksgiving, with the help of startup incubator mBloom. Wrappily was founded to be a “smarter solution for our environment,” she said, “so being as eco-conscious and thoughtful as possible is our absolute. A close second is building and sustaining the communities in which we do business through supporting local jobs and nonprofit agencies.” Smith said she’s already seen her business have an impact on customers.

The recent Made in Maui County Festival helped Smith’s business by giving her some valuable exposure, she said. Frank R. De Rego Jr., director of Business Development Projects at Maui Economic Development Board, served on the Event Committee for the Made in Maui County Festival. Organizers said they planned to do a post-event survey with the 130-plus vendor participants, and that another festival for 2015 was very likely. Smith foresees immediate growth in her business on Maui and beyond. “Wrappily is designed to scale, in order to achieve our mission to be a solution to a global waste stream, we have to grow — swiftly,” she said. “While Maui is my and Wrappily’s home, we are actively expanding into the Pacific Northwest markets and have our sights set on California in 2015. Wrappily is designed to offer a ‘local’ product in every new area we move into.” For more information, go to