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Biodegradable and waterproof take-away containers made of wheat bran

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Branbox (Biodegradable and waterproof take-away containers made of wheat bran)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

The main goal of the BRANBOX project is to develop and implement for mass production biodegradable and environmentally safe, disposable take-away food containers. The new product, thanks to the already existing unique Biotrem technology, will be created exclusively from natural raw materials of plant origin, already available in large quantities, which are by-products or leftovers of the agricultural and food industries.

BRANBOX products are an important and effective response to the problem of plastic waste threatening the natural environment. The project also creates new, potentially lucrative and ethical investment opportunities and opens up new chances for the EU and global agricultural and food production sectors.

Products manufactured through the Biotrem technology are fulfilling the assumptions of the latest regulations regarding the environmental protection, waste management and utilisation of disposable tableware and packaging – especially the EU’s SUP Directive. The company provides an easy to implement solution that makes it possible quickly replace harmful plastic or paper disposables with the environmentally friendly new generation of single-use products.

Biotrem, successfully launching tableware made of wheat bran on the global market, already proved that the Biotrem technology enables manufacturing of disposable products that effectively replace plastic and other chemically-treated materials; that are functional, environmentally safe, are fully biodegradable by composting in just 30 days; and that create new business opportunities for the agricultural and food industries through the efficient management of industrial by-products or leftovers.

The Biotrem technology is extremely flexible in terms of utilisation of available raw materials. It is capable to utilise such raw materials as wheat bran, corn bran, cassava derivatives, seaweed, and many more. This technology is also highly scalable and easy to transfer. The test production unit, launched in 2019 in collaboration with Biotrem’s business partner in the Dominican Republic, proved it.

Ultimately, the BRANBOX project set to reach the stage in which it will be possible to easily and quickly start production anywhere in the world through joint-ventures or by third-party businesses through technology licensing. This will enable a rapid distribution of the solution developed by Biotrem and an effective introduction of innovative and highly demanded products to the EU’s and global markets.
In the period covered by this report, Biotrem implemented a number of activities defined in the application for financing and achieved significant progress in achieving its objectives.

• In 2019, Biotrem, in cooperation with HoldiNova, launched in the Dominican Republic a test production of disposable plates from a mix of sargassum seaweed and cassava leftovers.

• R&D works conducted on biodegradable take-away packaging in 2019 has brought spectacular results at such an early stage in the form of development of a fully functional product prototype and very promising test results for coating products to ensure water resistance.

• Tests carried out in the Dominican Republic fully confirmed the possibility of installing Biotrem machines in a new location and virtually immediately starting production using local materials, without a need for in-depth introduction of the licensee and even technical personnel into the patented details of the Biotrem technology.

• A number of works related to the design of security solutions preventing unauthorized access to the details of patented technology as well as remote control over the use of machines have been started. The company has also taken a number of actions leading to protection of intellectual properties generated during the implementation of the project.

• The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to execute all dissemination and promotional activities planned for 2020, as well delayed also technical tasks due to difficulties in traveling. Nevertheless, Biotrem managed to present and promote the BRANBOX project at several virtual/online events such as: Change NOW, Global Food Summit, and others.

In August 2020 the BRANBOX by BIOTREM project was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” Label following an assessment performed by external independent experts and based on verified standards.

• As part of the work carried out in the last year, the focus was on the implementation of security measures and remote supervision over the work. The method of communication with the device was extended and changed, and additional points for remote control of the machine's operation were introduced. The implemented solutions allow for quick action in the event of any irregularities.

• Technological trials were carried out at the Biotrem plant, obtaining about 180 pieces / hour. The production is stable, the weight of the product is repeatable. Due to the form of the material, additional cleaning of the molds is recommended in the longer production period.
The BRANBOX project, apart from measurable goals and assumptions contained in the application for the funds, also pursues many goals of a much broader significance, whose environmental, social, economic and political effects can potentially be felt not only on a local, but also a global scale.

Environmental effects - Products based on the Biotrem technology, while maintaining the functionality of disposable products that consumers are accustomed to, provide incomparably lower environmental costs for the entire product life cycle, reduce CO2 emissions, and divert the waste stream from landfills and incineration plants to the composting plants, where they create new value in the form of natural fertilizer for subsequent crops. In practice, Biotrem technology realizes the assumptions of the closed-cycle management - one of the pillars of the EU’s Green Deal.

Social effects - the BRANBOX solution follows the lifestyle of modern societies while eliminating negative elements such as the production of non-recyclable waste. Paradoxically, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the development of the food delivery market, which in turn increased the demand for biodegradable packaging. It gave a new impulse to the development of the Branbox project and attracted the interest of new groups of potential clients and investors.

Economic effects - the Biotrem technology and the resulting BRANBOX products or disposable tableware open up new possibilities for increasing profits and creating added value for the agricultural and food industry, while utilizing existing raw materials.
Decentralization of production centres will also translate into more sustainable development of traditionally agricultural regions and a balanced distribution of profits.

Political effects - the solution proposed by Biotrem is a model showcase of thoughtful and effective closed-cycle management. The Biotrem project has reached the stage of maturity and readiness to be implemented on an industrial scale largely due to the determination of the creators and the funds obtained from EU (including Horizon 2020). The example of the Biotrem and BRANBOX projects is tangible evidence of the effectiveness of efforts undertaken at the EU level (EU’s Green Deal, SUP Directive), as well as it can be an inspiration and a model for other projects and ventures undertaken by EU-based inventors and entrepreneurs.
The early prototype of the Biotrem BRANBOX biodegradable disposable take-away food packaging in use.
Biotrem's Kitchen 2 Videos Featuring Branbox Prototypes
Branbox By Biotrem Sushi Box Product Prototype
The working prototypes of the Biotrem BRANBOX biodegradable disposable take-away food packaging.
Branbox Pre-Sales One Page Information Leaflet 2020
Branbox by Biotrem Booth At Plastic Free World Virtual Summit 2020
The working prototype of the Biotrem BRANBOX biodegradable disposable take-away food packaging.