Innovation Prize Styria 2022

Packnatur, winner of the Innovation Prize Styria 2022

Innovation Prize Styria 2022: the winners have been chosen! Packnatur Entwicklungs- und Produktions GmbH from Neudau has been awarded the Prize for Sustainability in the Small Businesses category. Regional Councilor Eibinger-Miedl presented the trophy to managing director Manfred Kern, the man who built up the company in just over three years at the Neudau site in eastern Styria, leading it to international success. The third production hall is already under construction and is scheduled to open in August 2022. As the winner of the Innovation Prize Styria, Packnatur has now also been nominated for the Austrian State Prize for Innovation.

A total of 90 projects were submitted. From these, the Regional Industrial Science Institute created a shortlist based on innovation criteria, with three finalists for each of the six categories. The winners were chosen by an jury of experts chaired by Martha Mühlburger, Vice-Rector of the Montanuniversität Leoben.

30,000 tons of plastic nets are used in Europe for food packaging every year. Packnatur Entwicklungs- und Produktions GmbH is preparing to replace these with sustainable alternatives: Packnatur®  cellulose tube netting made from Lenzing™ Modal beechwood fibre is produced regionally in Neudau in East Styria and has already saved the environment from more than 980 tons of plastic. Cellulose fibre biodegrades within 12 weeks. It is petrochemical and microplastic-free as well as being certified as home-compostable in Europe and the USA. The Packnatur® net tubes are suitable packaging for potatoes, onions, garlic, lemons, oranges, beets, black radishes, avocados, mussels and lots more. Future areas of application for adapted net tube products are in the non-food sector (Christmas trees, kindling wood), agriculture (hay bales and hail protection nets) and in the technical sector (building protection nets, ski slope boundaries, etc.).

Regional Councilor for Economic Affairs Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, initiator of the Innovation Prize Styria as successor of the Fast Forward Award: “The award-winning companies and research institutions underline why Styria is one of the most innovative regions in Europe in an impressive way. The award winners are particularily successful in working on the two major issues of our time – digitalization and sustainability – and, in doing so, are developing solutions that bring enormous added value for society“.

Foto: Broboters