Our sustainable packaging is benefiting all
While offering a host of customer benefits, our expanding range of innovative biodegradable product packaging is helping Biobest meet its circular use of materials – says Peter van Leent - sustainability manager. “Helping us reuse, recycle and utilise more biobased materials, our new sustainable packaging is set to play an important role helping us achieve our ultimate goal – to become carbon neutral.
“This sustainable packaging initiative also offers tangible practical and associated cost-benefits to customers - encompassing improvements in product performance and ease of use, as well as reductions in disposal costs.”
Removing single-use plastic bottles
The initial focus is to remove single-use plastic (SUP) bottles from our beneficial range.
“The first product chosen was Macrolophus-System,” explains Geert Geboers, who has responsibility for process improvements for specialist packaging. “The initial drive was to improve product efficacy through redesigning the packaging and, in the process, make it more sustainable.”
The redesigned Macrolophus-System 100% biodegradable cardboard carton, with removeable lid, was launched in 2021. Inside, honeycomb paper helps protect the delicate winged mirid bug, while a gel formulation provides water for the adults during transit.
“While growers welcomed the product performance improvements, we were pleasantly surprised that growers equally appreciated the sustainability angle,” says Geert.
New platform technology
This 100% compostable cardboard carton has become a ‘platform technology’, which will be adapted and adopted for a range of products – so far Orius-System, Feltiella-System and most recently Micromus-System.
“This 100% biodegradable carton aids growers’ disposal issues as it can simply be left in the crop and discarded, along with the plant material, at the end of the crop cycle,” explains Ines de Craecker, product manager for beneficials. “The redesigned packaging is also helping to optimise predator performance.”
Sustainable transportation boxes
To ensure consignments arrive with customers in optimal conditions, individual products are packed and dispatched in transportation cooler boxes.
“In the past we relied heavily on polystyrene,” explains Geert. “Highly practical, it is light and insulating, however, this polymer can be brittle and slow to degrade. We’ve therefore set about eliminating polystyrene from our supply chain.”
2022 saw the introduction of Biobest’s first small sustainable cardboard cooler; the outer, insulation and filler material made exclusively from recyclable cardboard. More practical for customers, the coolers are collapsible, therefore more convenient to store, and - unlike polystyrene - are widely, kerbside recyclable.
The team is now also turning its attention to replacing the larger polystyrene transportation cooler boxes with a recyclable cardboard alternative by the second quarter of 2023.
While the initial focus was Europe, our sustainable packaging initiative has been extended and now has global reach, with ‘best practice’ being shared with other Biobest production facilities and subsidiaries from North America to Australia.
Summing up Geert says: “our redesigned sustainable packaging offers ‘internal gains’ helping to lessen our impact on the planet. It’s also delivering tangible ‘user benefits’ – improving product quality and optimising control in the crop, making products easier to use and reducing costs associated with aspects such as the disposal of plastics.
“We’re experiencing real ‘pull’ from the marketplace, customers are keen for us to extend these innovations to other products in our extensive range.
“Sustainability is in our DNA, it’s at the heart of what we do – it’s what makes us Biobest.”