Feather packaging innovation picks up European circular economy award

Elena Dieckmann of Aeropowder receives the award from Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group.

The winner of the 2018 Green Alley Award has been chosen: Aeropowder from the UK beat off five competitors to pick up the European circular economy award.

Aeropowder’s solution is pluumo, an insulating material for packaging based on waste feathers. The decision was made on the evening of October 18 at Haus Ungarn in Berlin. In mentoring sessions, the finalists worked with experts on their business model. Afterwards, all six startups presented their project to the audience and the jury in live pitches.

Aeropowder’s seemingly unique idea is to use waste feathers from the poultry industry to produce sustainable thermal packaging. After cleaning and treatment, the feathers are covered in a certified, compostable food grade liner. This textile is called pluumo and serves as an environmental-friendly alternative to conventional polystyrene packaging, PE-foams or thermal foil. “Once again, this year’s decision was not easy, and our finalists presented six strong and well-designed concepts,” said Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group. “Aeropowder convinced us with their product pluumo, as they are repurposing materials which would otherwise be disposed of. We want to give the Green Alley Award to those innovative approaches that directly feed into the idea of a Circular Economy.”

Elena Dieckmann, co-founder of Aeropowder, is delighted about winning the award. “With pluumo we had the idea of putting a valuable resource back into the material cycle. Winning the Green Alley Award shows us that we are going in the right direction. Feathers have incredible properties, as they are light-weight and robust, and insulate against heat and cold. We have requests from Spain, Germany, France; not only from customers but also from feather suppliers.”

The Green Alley Award has been running since 2014 and was initiated by the environmental services supplier Landbell Group from Mainz, Germany.

“With their unconventional approach and their enthusiasm, startups fuel an innovation-driven industry such as the circular economy. We are delighted that Aeropowder is once again a strong Green Alley Award winner this year. With pluumo, Aeropowder can really help to reduce waste and make our economy more sustainable,” says Schulz.

MIWA (Czech Republic): Minimum Waste is the aim of this start-up whose technology enables food retailers and consumers to buy and sell without packaging. Traders receive their products from producers in refillable containers from which consumers can take the exact amount needed on site. The containers are then cleaned and returned to the producer so that they can be used again.

The other 2018 finalists included Austrian start-up Refurbed, which brings used electrical and electronic equipment back to life; Circular IQ of the Netherlands, whose software assists with making sustainable purchasing decisions; Ecoplasteam, whose EcoAllene production process provides a means to sidestep the difficulty of separating certain types of mixed waste; Superseven of Germany, which has developed a biodegradeable alternative to plastic packaging, made of cellulose; and MIWA (Czech Republic), a firm that has developed refillable containers that enable food retailers and consumers to buy and sell without packaging (see image, above).

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