LIFE BioTHOP - BioTwine HOP waste transformation into novel product assortments for Packaging and Horticulture Sector

LIFE18 ENV/SI/000056

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Contact details:

Contact person: Barbara Čeh
Tel: 38637121612
Fax: 38637121620
Email: barbara.ceh@ihps.si

Project description:


EU agriculture and horticulture industries generate around 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste per year, 60% from films and 30% from twines, nets, clips, pots and trays. Within the EU, 2 600 farms grow hops over an area covering at least 26 000 hectares. Hops growing still uses a system based on wire or polypropylene twine attached to trellises. Roughly 45km of polypropylene twine per hectare is used each season. While providing an excellent mechanical performance, the polypropylene makes proper composting, recycling or landfilling of post-harvest biomass (15 tonnes/ha/year) impossible.

As a result, most waste is still disposed of by uncontrolled burning, with the related adverse environmental impacts. In addition, as only the hop cones are used, the remaining two thirds of biomass (bines and leaves) is discarded as non-compostable waste, typically sent to landfill or incineration plants. Landfilling such mixed agro-wastes which are contaminated with fertilisers and pesticides is also unsustainable, expensive and potentially harmful



The primary objective of LIFE BioTHOP is to demonstrate the value and potential of hop post-harvest biomass, thus promoting a new circular economy model for improved agricultural waste management. It will combine bioplastic twining materials with new ways to use hop crop waste in packaging and horticulture products.

More specifically, the project aims to:

  • introduce twines of biodegradable and compostable bioplastic (polylactic acid - PLA) into the hop-growing industry, allowing 100% of hop post-harvest biomass to be reused, by extracting natural fibres and using them in fully biodegradable materials; and
  • use hop plant waste as the main composting ingredient and natural fertiliser or material to produce biodegradable products (bio-composites, planting pots, packaging trays).

BioTHOP objectives are in line with the Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe [COM(2011)571], the European strategy for plastics in the circular economy [COM(2018)28] and the thematic strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste [COM(2013)211]. The project will help implement the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/CE), the Directive on the landfill of waste [COM(2014)397] and the Directive on eco-design [2009/125/EC; COM(2013)123].


Expected results:

  • 3 600kg/year of specially adapted optimised PLA twine produced;
  • evaluation of post-harvest hop biomass compost containing PLA as a potential biofertiliser, tested for essential plant nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S);
  • recovery of three new 100% biodegradable materials from hop agro-waste: hop fibres as filler additives (1 000kg/year), hop fibre-reinforced PLA biocomposites for injection moulding (1 500kg/year), and hop fibre crumbs for pulp moulding applications (1 000kg/year);
  • 2 000 injection-moulded planting pots produced as a demonstration of new products for the horticulture sector and another 2 000 hop-moulded packaging insert trays;
  • validation of new materials in at least five other final products; and
  • transfer of the BioTHOP practice to at least five Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Spain and Germany).

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Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Circular economy and Value chains
Waste - Agricultural waste


environmental impact of agriculture‚  plastic waste‚  recycling‚  packaging‚  agricultural waste

Target EU Legislation

  • Industry and Product Policy
  • Directive 2009/125 - Framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related produ ...
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2011)112 - "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (08.03.2011)
  • Waste
  • Directive 2004/12 - Amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (11.02.2004 )
  • Directive 75/442/EEC -"Waste framework directive" (15.07.1975)
  • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Slovenian Institute of Hop Research and Brewing
Partners TECOS(Slovenian Tool and Die Development Centre), Slovenia DAS(Development Agency Savinja), Slovenia TECNO(NUEVAS TECNOLOGIAS PARA EL DESARROLLO DE PACKAGING Y PRODUCTOS AGROALIMENTARIOS CON COMPONENTE PLASTICA SOCIEDAD LIMITADA), Spain ZT(ZELFO TECHNOLOGY GmbH), Germany LEP(Lankhorst Euronete Portugal, SA), Portugal TRIDAS(TRIDAS s.r.o.), Czech Republic


Project reference LIFE18 ENV/SI/000056
Duration 01-JUL-2019 to 30-JUN -2022
Total budget 1,919,901.00 €
EU contribution 1,055,945.00 €
Project location


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version