RELAXING over lunch in the New Zealand sunshine seems an unlikely place to have a life-changing epiphany.

Catriona Mann – on holiday after taking voluntary redundancy from a 22-year career in retail – recalls the moment she realised exactly what she was going to do next.

“I left my job with no real plan for the future - all I knew was that I did not want to get up at 5am and put a suit on to go to work any more,” she explains.

“I decided to do a bit of travelling and on my first day of a nine-week holiday, I discovered reusable food wraps – eco-friendly clingfilm, in other words.”

Catriona, who grew up in Bearsden, adds: “This was something I had never seen or even heard of in Scotland. From that moment on, the holiday became a business planning trip. I drove around in a camper van with a wee black notebook, brainstorming some ideas, thinking up names... Two days after I got back to Scotland, I registered the business, and that was how it all started.”

The result of that flash of inspiration is Waxyz, wraps - made of organic cotton and coated with a unique blend of food-friendly waxes - which can be washed and reused. If cared for properly, they can last for more than a year and can then be recycled in a compost bin.

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The waxing process is carried out by Halley Stevensons in Dundee, whose most famous customer is Barbour.

“Waxed cotton is an old Scottish tradition – originally used to make sails for fishing boats, the fishermen would reuse old ones by transforming them into waterproof clothing,” says Catriona. “Eventually, the makers produced clothing for the fishermen directly.”

Adding the wax is a complex (and secret) process, she adds.

“With other reusable wraps made from beeswax, there can be a sticky residue and a bit of a smell,” she says. “Because the wax we use is impregnated into the cotton, there is no stickiness at all and no smell. They are quite dry to the touch, but when it pressed together or on to something like a bowl, they stick.”

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As well as selling directly from her company website,, the wraps are stocked by an ever-increasing list of retailers from Dundee’s V&A to Locavore in Glasgow.

“The demand from consumers for plastic-free shopping is increasing,” says Catriona, ,who now lives in Fife.. “I believe lockdown has changed the way people think about the way they live their lives. I spend a lot of time on local beaches – we do clean-up walks every Sunday – and it is incredible how much waste is washed up. It’s tragic to see the coastline affected in this way and it means a lot to me to have set up a business that is fighting back against plastic pollution.”

This autumn, Waxyz is working with the University of Glasgow to provide bespoke branded wraps for sale in campus shops.

“It is a very exciting development for us,” says Catriona. “My vision for Waxyz is that it will become as much a part of our common culture as reusable coffee cups and refillable water bottles. A small change, to make a big difference.”