- Founders: Guy Maurice
- Founded in: 2018
- Employees: 5
- Money raised: €2.5 million
- Ultimate goal: Eliminate the use of disposable plastic by developing a product that does not require recycling.
Planet Earth celebrated its Plastic Overshoot Day on July 28. This day marks the point when humankind can no longer adequately manage the amount of plastic waste produced annually. Most of this waste stream is made of packaging materials, which only partly are adequately treated and recycled.
Measures like packaging taxes and bans on single-use plastic are forcing the food industry and consumers to switch to more sustainable alternatives, such as paper. Overall, regulatory frameworks across the world are prescribing a wider usage of recycled materials.
Parallel to that, the development of environmentally friendly materials is another possibility. Seaweed certainly belongs to this category. Norwegian company B’ZEOS has been working for years on creating biodegradable packaging material based on algae. Harnessing biotechnology, B’ZEOS has been working on a replacement for single-use plastics. In a previous episode of the Start-up of the Day series, founder Guy Maurice told us more about the company and its technology. For this article, communications and partnership manager Kela Feller took us through B’ZEOS’ latest developments.
How is B’ZEOS doing since our last chat?
“The B’ZEOS team expanded to five people. The company recently hired a communications and partnerships manager and a new industrial product designer. B’ZEOS has also moved to a new and larger lab. Furthermore, we have been awarded several public grants and entered the biotope acceleration program.
How did you further develop your technology?
“We have reached a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of seven. At this stage, we have developed thermoplastic formulations – plastics that can be shaped with heat – that can be transformed into flexible films or rigid items using conventional plastic manufacturing processes.”
Have you developed new packaging solutions?
“Our main focus is still the flexible films. We have a portfolio of over 20 formulations that employ different seaweed extracts, ranging from more to less refined, and work with invasive seaweed species such as sargassum in our formulations. Each formulation presents different final properties for various applications and desired outcomes. We are currently working on rigid and semi-rigid items as well.”
Have you established new partnerships with food companies? If so, which ones?
“B’ZEOS has collaborated with Nestlé and is currently closing a deal with another prominent Swiss retailer. Additionally, we have acquired several EU grants, the first one being Plastisea.”
What kind of products are you developing for them?
“We are focusing on flexible films, paper coating, seaweed-based pellets, thermoformed applications, and injection molding.”
What’s keeping you busy at the moment?
”We are focusing on optimizing our formulations to render the highest quality products using conventional machinery, and expanding beyond a lab setting to create a solution that can be produced at scale. We are also working on project-based collaborations with different seaweed players (see here for our most recent collab) and on our image and branding.”
What are your future plans?
”We hope to hit the market next year. Our entry strategy will be through test shops at specific food retailers, where we can get our packaging in the hands of consumers and receive feedback on the user experience. In addition, we are looking for investors to raise private funding.”