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Issue 03/2019

Highlights: Toys Injection Moulding Basics: Microplastics Mind the right terms Captured CO2

Toys Bioplastic items

Toys Bioplastic items for kids… a real bet Speaking at the inaugural bio!TOY Conference was a major event for eKoala, said Beatrice Radaelli, cofounder of the company. bioplastics MAGAZINE talked to her about what it took to start a bioplastics toy company. bM: Why was the bio!TOY such a special event for you? Beatrice: Speaking at bio!TOY was a great opportunity for us to think and finally to talk about what we have done and the results we have achieved so far. bM: How did it all start? Beatrice: After we started our project, and officially founded the company in 2014, we spent more than two years doing research and development work. As a first result, we could officially launch the first eKoala line of products at the end of 2016. bM: What challenges did you face and how did you master them? Beatrice: One of the most difficult issues was finding the right material to obtain a good and stable product. We were looking for a material that was suitable for injection moulding made using the highest possible percentage of raw materials from renewable resources. In addition, the material had to be biodegradable as we felt that to gain the full advantages of using a bioplastic, this should be both renewably sourced and biodegradable. bM: Who were your partners? Beatrice: After contacting quite a few bioplastic manufacturers around the world, we finally discovered Mater-bi. The fact that the material is made by an Italian company also allowed us to label our products ‘100 % Made in Italy.’ bM: And then you could “hit the road” and start production? Beatrice: After finally deciding in favour of MaterBi, it still took a while to produce our item number 1. It was a mixture of happiness, pride and relief when we held it in our hands for the first time. Item number 1 is still on our desk, reminding us every day of all the hard work we did to get to it. eKaboom 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14

Toys Beatrice Radaelli and her brother Daniele Radaelli Interview with Beatrice Radaelli (Interview: Caroli Buitenhuis, Green Serendipity) bM: How was the market entry? Beatrice: The following two years (2017-2018) were needed to test the products with the customers. It was a hard start. People are not always aware of what bioplastic really is and the commonly used term “bioplastic” does not really help to identify a material that is different from traditional plastic. That’s one of the reasons why accurate and clear communication is really important when dealing with bioplastic products. bM: How are sales today? Beatrice: In the years since, we have built up and strengthened the distribution in Italy. Our products are available in more than 300 shops all around Italy today. But we also worked to spread our distribution internationally. We now have customers in Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltics, Poland and other Eastern countries. We are discussing possible collaborations with distributors in the USA and in China. bM: Your first line consisted of baby food and teething products, What came then? Beatrice: Each year, we invest in the development of new products to broaden the portfolio. After introducing our basic line, last year we launched the first eKoala toy. eKaboom is a multifunctional stacking toy, that can also serve as a percussion instrument. Currently we are working on two new toys for 2019. bM: Are you satisfied? Beatrice: The numbers are not very high yet, but we keep on working to increase our areas of distribution. It’s really hard work, especially for a tiny company like ours. Somebody at the bioToy! conference said the bioplastics have not made him rich…nor us, either. bM: Some final words? Beatrice: But we truly believe in what we are doing and we are still enthusiastic about that. We will keep on working and studying because we strongly believe it’s high time to make a change and we know we are on the right path. MT We STARCH your bioplastics. AGENACOMP ® BIOPLASTIC COMPOUNDS AGENACOMP resins are suitable for films of less than 15 µm. Regional & GMO-free – made from our starch. Sustainable – up to 50 % renewable ressources. Home-compostable – no microplastic residues. AGRANA.COM THE NATURAL UPGRADE bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14 21

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