LIFE BioTHOP has won the gold award for the best innovation in Slovenia’s Lower Savinja Valley region and Celje region and bronze at the country’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Innovation Awards.
Slovenia is the EU’s third-largest hop producer. However, farmers use synthetic twine to support hop plants during growth, which takes 450 years to biodegrade. This twine also remains tangled in the leftover hop leaves and vines, preventing this waste from being reused.
The team behind LIFE BioTHOP has developed a new twine that is 100% compostable and biodegradable. This means that the leftover biomass can be used for composting and as a fertiliser after the hop harvest.
Initially assessed in Slovenia’s most important hop-producing region, Lower Savinja Valley, during three growing seasons, the BioTHOP twine was also tried out in other parts of the country and in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Portugal and Serbia. It was also evaluated for growing beans on hop trellises, tomatoes, and aubergines in greenhouses.
The LIFE BioTHOP team made various products from hop waste, including biodegradable planting pots and packaging trays for transporting individual wine bottles. They also derived coffee capsules, paper, mobile phone holders, panels and mulch foil from the waste.
A Slovenian producer of fashion accessories even used the new material to make buttons.
All the above products are biodegradable and compostable - after their lifetime, they can be composted, and the biomass and nutrients are turned back into agricultural soil.
The twine has launched commercially and is available for hop growers worldwide.
The project is another example of a LIFE Close to Market project.
Find out more about LIFE BioTHOP in its Layman’s Report.
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