Biome Technologies plc (LON:BIOM) Chief Executive Officer Paul Mines caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the new order worth $550,000, demand for sustainability, what’s special about the product and seeing further commercial potential.
Q1: We’ve seen today that Biome Technologies‘ Bioplastics division has received an order worth $550,000 and that’s from a major existing client operating in the United States packaging market. Paul, why are you seeing rising demand for the coffee pod market?
A1: I think there are several factors driving this.
One of those is that brands are realising that sustainable credentials particularly with regards to plastic are becoming increasing important and so they are some cases switching to bio-based, biodegradable plastics.
Particularly for coffee pods, you’ve got a mix of waste coffee and plastics that’s really close to impossible to actually recycle economically whereas having a material that’s compostable at the end of its life – the plastic composts alongside with the coffee composting – is an elegant and sustainable solution.
A third point that’s important in these times as well is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are staying home but still want good coffee when they can’t get to the major coffee chains so they’re ordering coffee online. This is driving a real surge in demand for coffee pods which our customers are responding to and delivering that in a biodegradable, compostable format.
Q2: All the news highlighting all the plastic in the sea, I imagine that goes a long way as well?
A2: Yes, the general environment about concerns of consumers about plastics is helping the case of our division.
Q3: Can you just explain to us what’s so special about this material that you are selling into coffee pods?
A3: Well, the material took us some 4-5 years to develop, it’s made from biologic inputs, it’s made from plants effectively yet it performs very similarly to oil-based plastics and it works in our customers’ manufacturing factories at very high efficiencies.
When it ends up as a final coffee pod, it copes with the pressures and temperatures that are seen during the brewing process of coffee but then at the end of its life, it composts within 3 months into an industrial composter down to carbon dioxide and water, it disappears effectively.
Getting all of those into a material to work well has taken us some time but now, what we’re seeing from the scale of this order is we’ve really got some traction in the market and our customers are starting to buy this material in large quantities. It does the job and it does it very well.
Q4: Why do you see further commercial potential for this material?
A4: Two reasons for that, one we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the coffee pod market and as brands are starting to look at that sustainability question, that will bring us enquiries for working with other customers particularly around coffee pods.
We also see there are broader applications for this kind of technology where we’ve developed a material that is good at higher temperatures and is also compostable at the end.
So, it’s that function and performance during the product’s life and then compostability in the end that really makes this product stand out for Biome Technologies’ customers and the market.