Sustainable bee packaging creates a buzz!

Smurfit Kappa has created a sustainable packaging solution to transport bees for Biobest, a world leader in biological crop protection and pollination.

Biobest began back in 1987 when veterinarian Roland De Jonghe began breeding bumble bees in his garage to organically pollinate tomatoes. Tomato growers were quick to see the advantage of using bumble bees over chemical pesticides and the company flourished.

Biobest approached Smurfit Kappa to design an insulated and weather-resistant box to replace the EPS pack it was using to transport live bumble bees. It also had to be robust enough to withstand long periods outdoors as the boxes are used for outdoor pollination of fruit and vegetables.

Smurfit Kappa looked to its Better Planet Packaging portfolio to create a solution which was made from water-resistant AquaStop paper and included hexacomb fitments inside to protect and insulate the insects. Tests were conducted to see if the new pack could survive outside for 6-8 weeks and it passed with flying colours, keeping the bees safe and ready to pollinate.

Peter van Leent, Sustainability Manager, Biobest, said, “As providers of organic pest control, sustainability is a core value for us. It was clear throughout our collaboration that Smurfit Kappa has the same deep commitment to sustainability and fully understood the brief. We wanted to get a fully recyclable solution to replace the Styrofoam box we were previously using but needed to ensure that it would perform on several fronts. We’re looking forward to rolling this out for use with other live insects and mites.”

Arco Berkenbosch, Chief Innovation Officer, Smurfit Kappa, added, “We’re very aware of the crucial role that bees play in global food production and, indeed, have got beehives at many of our plants. We needed to come up with a pack that would protect this precious cargo both throughout the supply chain and when it reached its final destination. Our AquaStop paper has performed very well across many sectors and one of its biggest selling points is the fact that the coating that makes it water-resistant doesn’t compromise its recyclability. At Smurfit Kappa, we have a broad range of 100% paper-based and recyclable solutions such as this pack which are the answer to the regulatory challenges that many of our customers are facing.”

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