A simple, natural solution from Ukraine

10 May 2023

The winner of the Green Alley Award 2023 is S.Lab from Ukraine. The startup’s winning idea: an alternative to expanded polystyrene (EPS) material. Made from mycelium (fungi) roots and hemp stems in their laboratory, S.Lab’s packaging solution is 100% biodegradable and provides a truly green packaging solution.

Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group and creator of the award said: “S.Lab addresses a vital topic for the circular economy. The usage of packaging has resulted in a heavy burden on the environment, and the management of packaging waste is facing a challenge due to packaging recyclability. What convinced us about S.Lab was that their biodegradable packaging has similar properties to EPS but instead they use hemp and mushroom roots, specifically mycelium, as the only plant-based components. Furthermore, to produce this packaging, S.Lab will build small factories with a closed-loop automated production line placed in 40-foot containers. The Green Alley Award has put a spotlight on circular startups like S.Lab that can make a decisive contribution to our fight against climate change.”

Julia Bialetska, Co-Founder and CEO of S.Lab, was delighted to win the award and explained how the startup will use the prize money of €25,000: “We are thrilled to receive this award. We need to rethink the way we use resources and materials and investigate the opportunity of using more and more renewable resources, repurpose current usage of the resources, and decrease waste generation. For us, a great example of circular economy implementation in the packaging industry is packaging as a service, where instead of using packaging once, it’s collected and then used again in many more cycles of delivery. We will use the prize money to commercialise our product, create more impact, and enable a more circular future.”

The Green Alley Award is the first European startup award for the circular economy. Since 2014, Landbell Group has rewarded companies whose business models are in the areas of digital circular economy, recycling, or waste prevention.

“We are very pleased that we are once again able to present a strong winner with S.Lab this year,” added Jan Patrick Schulz. “With its convincing strategy to scale its biodegradable packaging solution in a short timeframe, S.Lab can really make a difference for the circular economy.”

For more information, visit the Green Alley Award website.