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Protecting pollination: Smurfit Kappa designs bee transportation packaging for Biobest

#Protecting pollination: Smurfit Kappa designs bee transportation packaging for Biobest


26 Jan 2024 — Smurfit Kappa has launched a packaging solution to transport bees for Biobest, a global biological crop protection and pollination company.

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

Smurfit Kappa used its Better Planet Packaging portfolio to create a solution 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 six to eight weeks. The tests succeeded and kept the bees safe and ready to pollinate.

Peter van Leent, Sustainability Manager at Biobest, says: “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.”

AquaStop for regulatory challenges
In 2022, Smurfit Kappa launched AquaStop, a water-resistant paper solution, part of the company’s TechniPaper portfolio — high-performance papers designed for complex supply chains.

Arco Berkenbosch, chief innovation officer at Smurfit Kappa, says: “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.”

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

Edited by Louis Gore-Langton

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