Italian good news: Transforming waste into flower-scented bioplastic
- WTI Magazine #150 Apr 23, 2022
Every residue is a resource, waste can become an innovative product. If behind it there is a dream, the vision of a new way of producing. Labrenta, a company founded 40 years ago to produce cork, plastic and synthetic stoppers for the wineries of the Vicenza area in Veneto, thanks to "dreamy" entrepreneurs is following new paths towards sustainability.
This is the path traced by Gianni Tagliapietra, 46 years old, CEO of Labrenta, and his brother Amerigo, 39. Founder's sons, together they started Mixcycling in 2020, a spinoff that uses organic fiber waste, coming from industrial processing, to create alternative and ecological "plastics".
The new materials can be used in existing industrial technologies, such as injection molding and extrusion and 3D granule printing, for applications in many industries.
From chamomile production waste and lavender distillation residue, both from Made in Italy production, Mixcycling makes a bioplastic for packaging that smells like flowers. The packaging can be reused.
"We are always looking for new fibers with which to make biocomposites with high added value. Our blends are distinguished by their unique and natural aesthetic appearance. Cork, our workhorse, also has a soft touch effect. After having created materials that are pleasant to the eye and to the touch, why not also create materials that are pleasant to the nose?" explains Gianni.
"The EU is investing in plastic reduction technologies. Our target market is expanding. Markets&Markets predicts that the turnover of green & hybrid biocomposites will reach about $36.8 billion in 2022. Large players have invested in companies in the sector."
"Alibaba invested $6 million in Chinese startup Ecoinno, German startup Bio-Lutions concluded an €8.3 million fundraising with Delivery Hero as a key investor, and Sulapac raised €15 million in early September with Chanel as a lead investor," the company explains. That in September 2020 has raised over 700 thousand euros with a crowdfunding and in December launched a new campaign on Crowfundme, closed in overfunding, with over 900 thousand euros collected.