In an interview, Eduardo Gordillo, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Bio-Lutions GmbH, talks about the huge market opportunities for packaging made from plant residues.
When and how did the idea to produce packaging from agricultural residues come about?
The idea was born in 2012 from my will to do something for the environment, for the next generation. I was already busy with the subject of packaging. The material that we have been developing for years and that we use today has led to various questions and conclusions: We wanted to produce decentralised, i.e. worldwide, which is why we needed materials that were available in the respective countries. This is how we came across agricultural residues.
Are all plant residues suitable or only certain?
We found that we could not use leaves, but rather stems. This can be straw, the stems of tomato plants or the stems of banana plants. We need long and short fibres. We have already tested a lot and a lot works. But I do not believe that all plants are suitable for production. Soft plants like strawberry perennials or grass do not work.
What holds the fibres together?
That was a development with a partner company. This is a purely mechanical process that transforms the fibres into self-binding fibres by creating more contact points. If you multiply the number of contact points, the fibers bond by themselves.
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What are the advantages of such packaging?
They are the most ecological packaging currently available. They are inexpensive and stable. And the best thing about it is that you can immediately tell from the product that it is a natural product. You don’t have to explain that.
Are the production costs competitive and how do you assess the market opportunities?
In many cases we are competitive with plastic and cardboard and other materials, although not in all cases. This is another reason why we are already in close contact with retailers and sales companies, and we have received a very positive response from them. There is a great potential for our products, the market itself is gigantic. They are looking for alternatives for plastic and paper, which is why the momentum speaks for our products.
We have the technology, we already produce in India. We are currently clarifying whether we can meet demand in Germany with our Indian production facilities. In addition, our talks with investors about financing the establishment of German production in 2020 are nearing completion.