Paper-based packaging firm Smurfit Kappa has introduced a new renewable and compostable paper, AgroPaper, for the agricultural sector.


Image: AgroPaper in use in a Spanish field. Photo: courtesy of Smurfit Kappa.

AgroPaper has been developed to replace the plastic material, which is mostly used by farmers and growers for mulching when growing vegetables.

Mulching is a process of placing a material (mulch) on the ground to increase the soil around plants, as well as prevent weeds growing and maintain the temperature of the land.

A team of specialists from Smurfit Kappa’s Nervion and Sangüesa Paper Mill collaborated with INTIA to develop a new approach to use long pine fibers from sustainably managed local forests as a basis for the new paper. INTIA is a research center for agri-food technology in Spain.

According to the packaging company, the polythene used for mulches can be difficult and costly to remove and leaves behind small fragments that can be consumed by animals.

AgroPaper is an eco-friendly material that serves as an alternative to polythene, and safely biodegrades as a compost into the ground. The tests on AgroPaper showed the increase of crop yield in multiple cases, said the company.

Smurfit Kappa will exhibit the new AgroPape at the 27th annual Fruit Logistica event in Berlin, Germany, which will commence next week.

Commenting on the latest breakthrough, Smurfit Kappa Europe paper COO Laurent Sellier said: At Smurfit Kappa, we believe we have a responsibility to respond to the challenge facing the environment and society as a whole today by developing the paper and packaging solutions of the future.

“Through our Better Planet Packaging initiative we’re looking to generate innovative, sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on the environment. AgroPaper is an example of a truly circular product that solves a critical issue for many farmers and opens up a world of possibilities.”

Smurfit Kappa provides corrugated packaging, containerboard and bag in box solutions for the customers various sectors, including consumer, retail, industrial and ecommerce.