Biotechnology Conference - EcoVibe

Biotechnology Conference

Earlier this month, two members of our team hopped on the Eurostar and attended the EFIB 2019 conference in Brussels. Sounds pretty fancy right? Well, it was actually really exciting! Find out what we learnt and check out the coolest new eco-inventions we saw there

EcoVibe's Stacey and Amy at EFIB 2019

EcoVibe's Stacey & Amy at EFIB 2019 in Brussels. 

So, what is EFIB?

EFIB is an annual event held in Europe for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy, aimed at bringing together businesses from all over the bioeconomy world. They’re hoping to overcome some important challenges facing the bioproduct industry such as high energy prices, the impact of shale gas and the ongoing need for a proper supportive policy from the EU.

Why were EcoVibe there?

We wanted to understand new developments within the industry, including new products we could bring to the market, answers on materials used and the processes involved to ensure the products we make and sell are providing you with a better alternative to traditional plastic products.

What did we learn?

Although there’s been loads of exciting developments in the bioplastics industry, including compostable bags, packaging made from mushrooms and coffee cups made from used coffee grounds, the bioplastics industry is still in its infancy. There are lots of businesses working hard to develop new products from bio-based materials so that we can improve our environment together.

Ecovative Design: Packaging made from mushroom

Packaging made from mushrooms!

We’re often hearing about all the negative things that are happening around the world, sometimes we miss out on all the great things that are happening too. Sadly, there’s a bit of a disconnect between these amazing scientists and the rest of the world in communicating what these brilliant alternative materials do as the scientific explanations are very technical and can be hard for consumers to understand.

The other problem is the disconnect between scientists making these exciting discoveries and the customers actually getting their hands on these products as scientists don’t always understand which products we need the most and which things they need to focus on as a result. Luckily, this is where we can help!

What did we do?

As part of the conference, we made some key partnerships in order to do two things:

Learn more!

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of mixed messaging around some environmental issues which can make it difficult to understand which products are genuinely the eco-friendliest. We’re working with these scientists to ensure the messages we put out there are accurate and up to date. As new discoveries are made, we’ll be updated with this information to make sure you guys are always in the know.

Explain to manufacturers

We’ll be working with the product manufacturers so that they understand the demand from customers and which eco products you want to see next.

Kaffeform UG: Coffee cup made from coffee grounds

Coffee cups made from coffee grounds!

The coolest things we saw

There are some amazing initiatives in fashion at the moment, for example, one business at the conference are working with big-brands (currently top secret!) trying to produce plastic-free nylon. Another company are working on an enzyme that is used to produce PLA (polylactic acid made from fermented plant starch such as corn or sugarcane that decomposes and biodegrades), which can be used to create bioplastics that will break down quicker.

All the work that’s going on in the bioeconomy is related to helping reduce the overall effect of climate change – and that’s great news!

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