By: The Working Forest Staff
Biome Bioplastics has secured £248,000 of further funding to support the commercialization of its biodegradable tree shelters. This additional funding follows the successful completion of an initial feasibility study to develop and test a new generation of biodegradable tree shelters.
Tree shelters are used to protect young trees and bushes from predation by animals and are well-proven to limit losses in the first years of a tree’s life. However, the majority are never collected at the end of their operational life. As they are traditionally made from oil-based, non-biodegradable plastics, they end up littering landscapes with large and small pieces of plastic. Plans to significantly increase tree planting as part of the UK’s push to net-zero emissions are expected to exacerbate this problem further.
In the UK, around 45 million trees are planted each year, most of those using non-biodegradable tree shelters for protection, with an estimated 2,500 tons of persistent plastics ending up in the natural environment annually. This project aims to curb such unnecessary levels of plastic pollution with a product that biodegrades in-situ after use.
The project continues in close partnership with Suregreen, a leading manufacturer of tree shelters, whose team has broad experience in the manufacture and sales of such products. Suregreen will involve its forestry customers in product assessment of the biodegradable tree shelters.
The additional funding has come from the Government-backed Innovate UK agency as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund. It will support a significant increase in project activity and facilitate further extensive laboratory testing of materials and UK-wide field trials of the novel biodegradable tree shelters.
“We’re very excited about the additional funding. It will support both the laboratory and ‘real-world’ testing of our innovative product. These necessary steps will accelerate the commercialization of the biodegradable tree shelters,” said Paul Mines, CEO of Biome Bioplastics.