Israeli firm brings biodegradable plastic, and jobs, to Savannah

Bram Industries, a major producer of food storage and kitchen products, is set to open a new plant in the US

A Bram Industries food container (Courtesy)
A Bram Industries food container (Courtesy)

An Israeli plastics company is bringing its new green technology to the US, where it will build a new factory – providing dozens of jobs and investment to coastal Georgia.

Bram Plastics Industries announced that it was bringing its manufacturing technology, which includes 100% biodegradable plastic shopping bags, to Savannah.

The Sderot-based firm will invest $3 million in the facility, where it will produce food packaging products, tableware, plastic housewares, plastic storage tools and more for its American customers, which include large chain stores like Walmart. The factory will generate at least 60 new jobs, the Savannah Economic Development Authority said.

“On behalf of the Savannah Economic Development Authority board of directors I would like to congratulate Bram Industries on their first U.S. manufacturing facility in Savannah,” said Trip Tollison, SEDA President and CEO. “We look forward to having a long relationship with Bram Industries and watching them grow in Savannah.”

Although it operates in what most would consider to be a low-tech market – plastics manufacturing – Bram uses very high-tech methods to produce a wide variety of food storage and kitchen products. Its latest invention is made of 100% biodegradable material approved by the FDA for storing food, pharmaceutical products, toys, and health products. Currently, the material is being used for a hard plastic market bag (not disposable), but it could be used for other purposes as well.

“The Bio-chic line contains a groundbreaking additive that unconditionally biodegrades your bag and naturally turns it into organic substance within 12 months to approximately six years once it is in the earth,” said the company. “Surveys have shown that approximately 95% of plastics are thrown into landfills as opposed to being composted. An enhanced plastic with a long shelf life that unconditionally biodegrades in a normal landfill and composting facility is the most environmentally responsible product we can make.”

Far from just a commodity plastics maker, Bram sees itself as a design firm, according to Amos Cohen, who leads the company’s design team. Like a true artist, Cohen prefers to work alone: “‘I like to start with a clean white sheet in a room with no distractions, to pour in my pure thoughts spontaneously and begin my models from a mood rather than a magazine or a website. I find the isolation from distractions helps me to truly innovate rather than reproduce another concept.’ The outcome of this non-traditional approach,” said the company, is “the production of trendsetting kitchenware that sends a new, clear and distinctive message to the consumer.”

So seriously does Bram take design that it runs a design contest, with customers (the wholesalers and retailers who buy tens of thousands of units) invited to submit their ideas.

Last year, Bram, which is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, had revenues of NIS 85.7 million ($22 million), with manufacturing facilities in Israel and France – and soon, the US, with the facility expected to be ready in the middle of 2016, the company said.

Eli Bramli, owner and CEO of Bram Industries said, “On behalf of myself, the board of directors and stockholders of Bram Industries, after selling our product for about 10 years in the United States, we are proud to announce our first manufacturing facility in the United States. With great cooperation with the Savannah Economic Development Authority, the City of Savannah and the state of Georgia, we are very excited to announce Savannah as our first US home base. By this strategic development, Bram Industries now has production presence in the US, Europe, and Israel.”

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