Without bees our entire ecosystem would breakdown. As pollinators, bees look after our wild trees and flowers, which then support other insects which in turn support birds, bats, mammals – essentially travelling all the way up the food chain. Whilst a lot of attention – and rightly so – has been placed on saving the bees, the transportation and home of our buzzy friends has perhaps been overlooked.
Biobest, which was established in 1987 by Roland De Jonghe who began breeding bumblebees in his garage to organically pollinate tomatoes, was seeking a new sustainably designed box to transport its live bees. Whilst being environmentally friendly, the new box also had to be insulated and weather-resistant, tough enough to withstand long periods outdoors as the boxes are also used for outdoor pollination of fruit and vegetables.
Commenting on the brief, Peter van Leent, BioBest’s sustainability Manager, said: “As providers of organic pest control, sustainability is a core value for us. 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.”
Smurfit Kappa offered a solution, designing a replacement for the brand’s current Styrofoam pack, which used water-resistant AquaStop paper and hexacomb fitments fitted inside to protect and insulate the insects.
“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,” said Arco Berkenbosch, chief innovation officer at Smurfit Kappa. “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.”
Tests for the new box were conducted to see if the new pack could survive outside for 6-8 weeks – and it passed with (insect)flying colours.
Leent added that the company is looking forward to using this new solution now with other live insects and mites in the future.