Bio-based packaging materials are endearing to all - every one of us would like to become eco-friendly by using packaging that biodegrades and avoids the land pollution associated with plastic packaging.
At a practical level however, bio-based packaging throws up challenges.
While some categories of bioplastics exhibit performances similar to those of the conventional plastics they replace, bioplastics are expensive mainly owing to the processes used to produce them (be they thermochemical processes such as polymerization or microbial processes).
Bio-based packaging materials that are made from a simpler route of processing the biomass and moulding/shaping it into the final packaging material are less expensive, but they can have challenges on flexibility, moisture prevention and water holding capacity.
The startup Bio-lutions, headquartered in Germany but having significant Indian operations, appears to have figured out a process by which they are able to make bio-based packaging at affordable prices using agricultural residues, without polymerization, and their products rate well on performance characteristics. Some of the strategies they have evolved - zero chemical use in the entire process, engaging local farmers, relying on multiple feedstock etc. - have the potential to provide them significant support as they scale.
Team EAI wishes Bio-lutions the very best!