Smurfit Kappa launches sustainable new alternative for banana producers
Smurfit Kappa, a FTSE 100 company and leading provider of paper-based packaging solutions, has extended its range of sustainable and biodegradable products for the agricultural sector with the launch of BanaBag®.
BanaBag® is an innovative and sustainable product created by Smurfit Kappa to address the quality assurance needed for excellent bagging during the complete growth cycle of the banana plant. It is a unique solution for organic producers because it protects the fruit from disease and insects, whilst also reducing the overheating that can result from using other materials like plastic.
The BanaBag® is made from cellulose which acts as a natural insulator to the growing bananas maintaining the quality of the product even in higher temperatures.
In addition to advantages in the farming process, BanaBag® is the right choice for banana producers that are supplying international markets where consumers are demanding sustainable products with traceable production processes and supply chains. The BanaBag® is 100% paper-based, making it renewable, recyclable and biodegradable and importantly, it can be used as compost for the soil.
Laurent Sellier, Chief Operating Officer of Smurfit Kappa Europe Paper and Board, commented: “At Smurfit Kappa, we are committed to innovation and the development of paper-based sustainable products that support our customers in the improvement of their processes and products. With a continuing drive to make a positive impact on the agricultural sector with innovative solutions like BanaBag®, we aim to positively contribute to better outcomes for farmers who are moving towards more sustainable methods.”
Juan Guillermo Castaneda, CEO of Smurfit Kappa The Americas added: “Some of the largest banana exporters in the world are in South and Central America where we operate. Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are on the list of the 10 countries that export more than 80% of the world´s bananas, mainly to European markets. This challenges producers to continuously adapt to the fast paced trends of consumers who want to be reassured that the products they buy and consume are sustainable.”
These trends have led the organic banana sector to implement environmentally friendly processes in their plantations, without sacrificing quality and efficiency throughout all stages of the fruit´s growth.
“Our job is to carefully handle the fruit in the production process so that it arrives in the best possible condition at its final destination – whether international or local,” says Louis Hesselholt, Manager of Dominique Banana in Santa Marta, Colombia. “BanaBag® perfectly matches the needs of our plantation by reinforcing the organic characteristics of our export product and contributing to our goal of eliminating 100% of all contaminant plastic waste from our farms.”
The use of non-sustainable materials in Dominique Banana´s production process was a huge challenge for the company, because of their difficult recycling process and the problems of land pollution. Additionally, because the plastic bunch bag commonly overheated the fruit, this contributed to lost produce. By implementing the Smurfit Kappa BanaBag® in the Campo Alegre and Granja plantations, the fruit´s quality increased, post-harvest recycling processes were optimised and the soil was fertilised since BanaBag® is compostable.
Smurfit Kappa has a number of sustainable products for the agricultural sector including AgroPaperTM for eco-friendly mulching in crop growing, the SoFru corrugated pack for berries, and Safe and Green biodegradable trays for fresh fruit.