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Interview with Małgorzata Then, CEO, Biotrem

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email interview with Małgorzata Then, CEO, Biotrem


Q: Hi Małgorzata, nice to meet you. So tell us, what is Biotrem? What kinds of products do you offer?

A: Biotrem is a Polish technology company developing an innovative production process of bio-based tableware and packaging. The patented technology allows us to manufacture a biodegradable disposable tableware from sustainable organic raw materials, such as wheat bran, corn bran, cassava by-products, seaweed or even algae.

Biotrem’s main product line is fully biodegradable disposable tableware produced from the compressed wheat bran. Our offer also includes cutlery made from a mix of PLA bioplastic and wheat bran.

Q: How did this idea come about?

A: Our unique production process was invented almost two decades ago by Mr. Jerzy Wysocki, whose family’s milling traditions date back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Mr. Wysocki was researching a better application for wheat bran, a by-product in the grain milling process, other than animal feed or compost. His research resulted in the production process fuelling today’s Biotrem production plant.

 

Q: Does food taste different when it’s on Biotrem tableware?

A: Our tableware, made out of compressed natural wheat bran, is perfect for serving hot and cold dishes. In case of longer contact with liquid meals – especially with hot soups – the smell or taste of bran may slightly penetrate the meal, but it’s not an unpleasant feeling. It reminds me of freshly baked bread.

Q: How is Biotrem more environmentally friendly than the alternative? How is Biotrem a solution to our waste problem?

A: Disposable products, made from wheat bran, are an excellent alternative to most of disposable tableware, i.e. made from plastic or paper, the production of which has a heavy and negative impact on the environment.

From 1 ton of pure, edible wheat bran – which is a by-product in the grain milling process – we can produce around 10,000 plates or bowls. What’s more important, our products are fully biodegradable and compostable within just 30 days.

Q: What about costs? Why should I buy Biotrem vs. other alternatives?

A: Actually, price-wise our products are on the same level as most of other bio-based disposable products. We should be aware that many of so-called eco-products is fact aren’t so much environmentally friendly. In many cases the organic material they are made out of requires processing involving large amounts of water, chemicals and energy.

The beauty of our innovative production process lies in the fact that it enables the use of unprocessed organic material, most often by-products in the agricultural or food industry.

 

Q: How can we tell the difference between your products and those that aren’t processed in an environmentally friendly way?

Well, being a conscious consumer requires some ­– at least – basic knowledge about how things are made and what are they made of. It really helps you make good and responsible choices.

Let’s take a paper cup as an example. You could say that since it’s made out of paper – an organic material that is biodegradable – it probably is an environmentally friendly product. or at least less harmful that a plastic cup. But then you must realize that paper is made out of trees; that the paper industry utilizes huge amounts of water, chemicals and energy; that a paper cup or plate can’t be made out of recycled paper – it always must be a fresh, clean paper; that a cup or a plate used to serve food can’t be recycled; and finally, that a paper cup or plate is able to withstand liquids because its surface is coated with a thin plastic or wax film, which makes it hardly recyclable or biodegradable.

As a responsible company, we commissioned an independent institute to conduct the Life-Cycle Assessment study for our products, which, among other things, proved that one (1) kilogram of wheat bran product generates in total – considering the whole wheat cultivation process, transportation, processing and utilisation – around 1.3 kg of CO2, meanwhile the functionally comparable mass of widely used polystyrene disposable plates or cups generates in total around 8.5 kg of CO2.

A comparative study of the impact on the environment, human life and natural resources is unequivocally in favour of the wheat bran product – for most categories the result is about 60% lower than for plastic-based products. That is a huge difference.

Q: What markets is Biotrem in currently? How do you aim to expand?

A: So far Biotrem has managed to build an effective distribution network across the Europe. Currently, we are expanding our sales and distribution on other continents – North and South Americas, Asia, Australia, Africa. Our business development is also supported by intense marketing and advertising campaigns.

 

Q: Who are your customers and what has been the reception from them so far? How are your products relevant to the tourism and hospitality industry?

A: So far, our largest clients are the caterers, organisers of large events, music festivals, live shows and wholesalers. The tourism and hospitality industry is also very interested in our products. We are receiving a lot of inquiries from holiday resorts, especially those located on tropical islands, where waste management is expensive and has a negative impact on the natural environment.

With the development of sales channels, supported by intense marketing campaigns, we hope to reach also end customers. We are already observing their huge interest in our products.

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Going Green with Your Fitness Regime

Categories: Green Tips, People and Places, Planet
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Fitness Routine

Get fit and stay healthy. That is our motto and New Year resolution for 2017!

Upgrading your fitness routine to the next level also helps to protect our planet. Here are some of our favourite eco-friendly fitness tips to help you to ‘go green’ with your workout:

 

Green commute

GREEN YOUR COMMUTE

Reduce your carbon footprint while you exercise. If possible, try walking, jogging or riding a bicycle to the gym or your next destination whilst getting your heart rate up at the same time. If it’s too far, not safe or simply impractical then choose public transport if possible or try to join a carpooling scheme with your fitness friends. Services such as uberPOOL make it easier to carpool and cut down on your fuel costs. And having a gym buddy is an instant incentive to keep up with your fitness goals! Read more on how to commute green to get lean, and how to commute in an eco-friendly way.

 

2017-01-17-14-55-54-167-01

The author enjoyed a grand sunrise atop Mount Yotei, Japan. 2016.

TAKE YOUR WORKOUT OUTSIDE

Exercising outdoors is a low cost, enjoyable and cheap and green way to take your health to the next level. Instead of increasing your energy consumption via home or gym exercise machines, take advantage of running, hiking or biking trails in your area. For some motivation, check out AppCrawlr’s recommendations for the best outdoor fitness apps.

 

fitness gear

USE ECO-FRIENDLY FITNESS GEAR

Choose products that are made of sustainable, recycled or earth-friendly fabrics. Here are 11 great picks for eco-friendly workout clothes. Remember to always carry a reusable bottle or hydration pack for your water, tea or sports drinks.

 

Local products at street market

MAINTAIN ENERGY LEVELS WITH SUSTAINABLE FOODS 

Fuel your body with organic energy bars, fresh fruit, and juices before or during your workout. You can also get vitamins and nutrients from locally grown produce and help to cut down on environmental waste.

 

Earth Day Run 2015 (Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

Earth Day Run 2015 (Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

 RUN FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Isn’t it wonderful when your fitness regime also benefits those in need? Sign up for a running event that supports ‘green’ cause. Check out details of your local Earth Day Run. Your registration fee benefits the organisation that helps to make a difference for local communities and environments.

 

DONATE YOUR SNEAKERS

When your sneakers are worn out – don’t throw them away. Donate them. Give your shoes new life with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe, a programme that recycles and transforms athletic shoes into surfaces for tracks, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts.

Stay fit, stay healthy and help your local community and environment.

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Why planting more trees is one of the best things a hot, polluted city can do

Categories: Climate, Flora, Planet, Recommended Reading
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trees01

Trees can make a city sidewalk prettier, sure. But that’s not even their best trick. A growing pile of research suggests that planting more urban trees, if done right, could save tens of thousands of lives around the world each year — by soaking up pollution and cooling down deadly heat waves. By

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fog catchers

When dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean, special nets on a hillside catch the moisture and provide precious water to the village of Bellavista, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside of Lima, Peru. With a few thousand dollars and some volunteer labor, a village can set up fog-collecting nets that gather hundreds of gallons of water a day—without a single drop of rain falling, conservationists say. By Helen Fields. Read more.

 

A decade from now, a company without an “energy and sustainability” department could be as unusual as one without a human resources department. Either that, or it might be out of business.    The sooner companies begin to understand and actively manage their energy use—and their energy sources, including possible ways to produce their own energy—the faster they’ll enter a more enlightened world, one with the potential for a number of advantages including significant savings, a better bottom line, greater customer loyalty, a cost-edge over competitors, lower business risk, and a company-wide awareness of sustainability that can rein in resource waste across the board.

by Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions

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Every Company is an Energy Company... and if it isn’t, it will be soon

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Top 3 Consumer Trends Influencing Travel

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Emerging interest of consumers worldwide for a meaningful travel experience is gradually changing travel trends globally. The quest for a new experience while travelling that adds something substantial to ones’ life is the dominating trend of travelers at present times.  Trend consultant Daniel Levine states that today consumers are motivated to travel for two burning reasons: First is concern with the environment and second is the desire for time with family and friends. By ‘Hotel Resort Insider’. Read more.

Photo: Hotel Resort Insider

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The Sustainability Treehouse / Mithun

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The Sustainability Treehouse, a Living Building Challenge targeted interpretive and gathering facility situated in the forest at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, serves as a unique icon of camp adventure, environmental stewardship and innovative building design. Mithun led the integrated design process and a multidisciplinary team to achieve the engaging, high‐performance facility. By Arch Daily. Read more.

Photo: Joe Fletcher

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MGM Goes Green: C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett

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Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Hayzlett travels to Las Vegas to talk with the executives at MGM about their new mission to go Green. CEO Jim Murren tells Hayzlett why his casino company decided to build the largest LEED certified building in America.

Originally published as MGM Goes Green: C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett by Bloomberg.

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TripAdvisor, one of the largest online travel sites, launched a “GreenLeaders” program that ranks 2,100 U.S. hotels based on their eco-friendliness, focusing on operations more than construction. Those 2100 hotels now have something that their competitors do not. No…not a heart, but a ranking. I don’t know about you, but when I managed hotels I never wanted my competition to have an advantage that I did not and this program is free. By Ray Burger. Read more.

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