BIOFASE

Unique technology, international award winning. We have patented the first non-food based bioplastic made from agroindustrial byproducts.

Monday 8 June 2015, by Carlos Cortés, cristinapages, Marta Iglesias

2 inspired

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

This company based in Monterrey, was founded by Scott Munguia, who in 2011 discovered that the bone of the avocado was containing a similar Biopolymer to the one corn has, which is used to produce bioplastic. One year later and after making some proofs in the laboratory, Biofase was born. They patented the technology of the extraction of this Biopolymer from the avocado bone to produce the biodegradable plastic and started the commercial process of the company. In the beginning, they were selling the resin of the plastic to bio-plastic products manufacturers. However, in 2014 they started to produce their own biodegradable plastic cutlery and other on-demand products and projects.

Some insights…

- Mexico: Biggest Avocado producer in the world.
- After producing a great variety of products based on avocado, such as Guacamole, Shampoo, Soaps, Oils, Beauty products, etc. Spare many seeds (30.000 Tons/month) that were previously only waste material, turning into a problem for producers.
- Biofase gets the raw material for free or even sometimes Biofase gets money from producers to collect the “wasting” material; this significantly reduces its production costs.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Nowadays, plastic is one of the materials that is more present in human’s daily life. This material artificially created by humans is highly polluting and unsustainable for the environment. Due to the high usage in human’s daily activities the quantity of waste is huge worldwide.

We consider that Biofase is contributing to three main ethical challenges:

Firstly, Biofase is solving is the production of a biodegradable plastic that will decrease the decomposition time of synthetic plastic from a range in between 150 and 1000 years to approximately less than a year.

Secondly, Biofase produces the biodegradable plastic from non edible materials. Usually, bioplastic is produced from starch (e.g. corn, potato, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid etc., which are part of human’s diet. Avoiding using these raw materials helps to reduce the global starvation problem

Finally, they are producing from waste. They are helping local producers to get rid of the avocado’s bone and give some utility to a material that was purely considered waste.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

We believe in Biofase because it is a business perfectly balanced between innovation, social responsibility, and profitability. It creates a great value from something considered a problem for producers and gives value to a wasting material. Although it is a small enterprise, it is not necessary to be the richest firm to generate a positive impact in your environment.

We also see in this business model a smart solution to many of the environmental problems we are facing nowadays: taking advantage of a local and abundant resource considered waste by using an innovative technology to transform it.
They are producing an environmentally friendly product from a raw material that is already available, so there’s no need to extract it.

Furthermore, we consider that they stay loyal to their initial business idea. We trust in Biofase because although they are growing, they are not using other unsustainable raw materials to produce bioplastic. The increase in production would be the easier for them in order to expand to other markets and to boost sales.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

Biofase depends of the production of third firms, it means, if the demand for Based on Avocado Shampoo falls or if the demand for Guacamole falls, Biofase will experiment a shortage of its main raw material. In other words, depend of only one source for getting the raw material is dangerous for stability of the business. Although the cultural and geographic conditions, the market of the avocado in Mexico is huge, it is not enough as to supply to all over the world, so their production capacity is directly constrained.

Our recommendations:
1. To invest more on R&D to find more and different alternatives to source the raw material in order to be able to produce in other countries where other kind of waste is generated.
2. We see that the real differential aspect they offer is not what they produce but how they produce, we mean finally what they produce is a Biopolymer that is produced by others and it is used to produce bioplastic items which also are produced by others in great scale, so the real challenge is not forward but backward, instead of expend time and resources producing forks or toys, they should focus on finding similar ways for producing the Biopolymer from waste, this is the largest contribution from Biofase to the world.
3. After getting the resin from the avocado, they are manufacturing the plastic in the conventional way. A good proposal would be the usage of renewable energies for the factory and a good waste treatment. They should try to expand their sustainability ideal in all their aspects.

Bibliography

BIOFASE webpage: http://www.biofase.com.mx
MIT Technology Review, "Innovadores menores de 35": http://www.technologyreview.es/tr35mexico/1482/scott-munguia/
Soyentrepreneur.com, "Biofase, todo se transforma". http://www.soyentrepreneur.com/27475-biofase-todo-se-transforma.html
Worldcentric.org, "Compostable Plastics". http://worldcentric.org/biocompostables/bioplastics

Location: Monterrey (México)

Sector: Manufacturing

Official website: http://www.biofase.com.mx/

Key figures:

Size of the company: from 1 to 10 workers

Since Biofase was born...
2011: BIOFASE’s R&D formalizes and aocado seed biopolymer is first isolated.
2012: The technology is patented and Biofase won 8 national and 3 international awards in countires like Spain, USA and Sweden.
2013: Biofase’s technology is recognized as Top 5 bioplastic innovations worldwide and two new locations are opened in Mexico.
2014: Biofase is awarded as innovation of the year in mexico by the MIT as the best green company in Mexico. They start exporting to central america through Guatemala and start building the biggest bioplastic plant in Mexico.

Nbr. visits: 377

Nbr. inspires: 2