Interview with Àngel Genís, Manager of Contrerina
February 11, 2011
The citrus fruit sector is one of the most interested in Hortomold. Photo: Contrerina, S.L.
Where does the idea of the Hortomold container?
Of a business organization of farmers, the Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders of Valencia, in an attempt to give a solution to the problem of the straw. It was burned under reports that justified it by health topic. But it was known that this practice had a date of expiration, which was effective in 2008.
How they came to work with farmers and Contrerina?
They knew that we had a half developed project on molded packaging, but based recycled paper and cardboard. They wanted to know if you could add straw. At first we try to avoid working with the straw of rice by the problems entailed in removed from the field and we switched to another type of cereal, such as wheat, barley and, above all, corn. But a few tests were and did not meet the conditions of resistance. So the fundamental basis of these packages is the fiber of rice straw.
But added pulp and cardboard, as I understand...
You can add you. What is the patent was that to expand it a bit. But Hortomold is made 100% of pasta for the straw of rice. It does not mix of pulp or recycled paper.
The process is absolutely ecological. Do you mean that?
It is a process similar to the production of paper pulp, but it is only mechanical, not reaching the chemical part because it won't be a refined pasta. Own container shows that it is made with straw, because pieces of it are. The straw is crushed and desfibrada, but not refined. If we were talking about paper, they should reach the refining and chemical processes.
What kind of equipment do you use? Have they seized some existing system?
No. It has developed a specific technology, a specific moulding machine for the packaging format. There were machines, but very small format, for small and small size but, for parts of 60 x 40 x 24 cm there were no machines. What it has taken are shredders machines.
What are the advantages and disadvantages does the Hortomold container?
As for disadvantages, to be molded packaging, is more expensive to print it. Bottle carton in which printing is in level, it can be very cheap. In this case it would have to use flexography or pad printing, which is more expensive. But, as this product is not to fill it with drawings and was intended to make it totally ecological, because we the less litter, therefore more natural remains.
With regard to benefits, it's a cheap product, the order of 20% below the value of the cardboard. Minimize the space used to be encajable. The space they occupy three thousand mounted boxes - a large truck needs 33 pallets - is 80 cubic meters. Once empty, go to the size of a pallet, without mechanical means for pressing them. Put the boxes one inside another, as if they were boxes of eggs. As its composition is completely vegetable, it is not no problem remove them with the normal rubbish. For distribution, this is a savings because they do not need to invest in machinery of pressing for the destruction of the packaging.
For what kind of products is intended?
More or less round fruit. The producers of oranges are those who have been most interested. Apples, Kiwi fruit, pears... and the world of the tomato.
Are you already in the market?
No, because still not produced industrially. Became a prototype of a machine and has never been put into industrial way, by the problem get out of the field of rice straw. We are developing a machine for granular and remove the chaff of the field.
What benefits does for farmers?
Removed them the straw in the field, which can not withdraw by economic problems. The not be able to take or burn, they decided to bury it. Spend the money wrapped straw and then not know what to do with it, because as animal feed no longer - by its high rate of silica is unpalatable for ruminants-. And the problem is that, to be able to pack straw, first is to dry. If you one to her Green, after three or four months burned by autoignición. The putrefaction process generates heat and in the end a fire. And not her we can dry because after the harvest, in the month of October, begin here the torrential rains that flooded the field.
And when is he buried...
The straw begins its process of decomposition and generates metanos. When you flood the field for planting, that anaerobic digestion kidnaps oxygen molecules and there starts to damage the farmer: this lack of oxygen in the water, has a direct impact on the germination of the seed. On the other hand, the water of itself it is rather poor in quality and, if you're robbing oxygen, brings the death of the fish fauna.
And what would be the solution?
We have developed a prototype of a machine, but we are waiting for official aid. There has to intervene the civil service because it is no longer a problem of private industry. Once the prototype has been developed, would already come the private initiative.
When could the container reach the market?
We are hopeful can resolve the problem of extracting the straw in the next campaign. By the end of 2011, we would like to bring to market the product.