The competition, which attracted over 300 entries, was part of the company’s drive to provide a collaborative platform to solve one of the biggest challenges in the packaging industry – to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste that is generated every day. The first challenge was to develop an alternative for the plastic stretch wrap which is used around pallets to provide stability during transport and storage.
The winner of this challenge was Eric Haas, a freelance product and packaging designer from Germany. Eric came up with a clever idea for a net-like structure, made from paper, that would secure pallet loads of different shapes and sizes. Additional benefits are the flexibility and possibility to re-use the net rather than being immediately discarded like the plastic stretch wrap.
Speaking about his winning design, Eric said: “I loved the sustainability focus of the challenge. It was an iterative process of innovation and I was delighted to find out that my idea has won the top prize.
“I’m excited about the potential that my submission has and am looking forward to seeing it being developed.”
The second challenge was to develop a fully paper-based parcel with thermal protection for chocolates, for use in the eCommerce sales channel.
The winner of this challenge was Kerstin Fischbacher, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Kerstin, who is from Austria, put forward an innovative idea for a thermal insulation product made from paper pulp which is formed in a similar fashion to expanded polystyrene (EPS). Although the product has many similarities with EPS regarding its thermal insulation properties, it is fully recyclable in existing paper recycling system and biodegradable.
Speaking about her winning submission, Kerstin said: “This is very exciting for me and the first time that I have got confirmation that all the work and research I do in my spare time has the chance to really make a difference.
“Thank you so much for this wonderful feeling and opening up the possibilities to develop this idea further!”
Both Eric and Kerstin are the proud recipients of an €8,000 prize fund each. Smurfit Kappa unveiled the winning ideas at its recent Better Planet Packaging innovation event in the Netherlands which brought over 350 customers together to explore the future of sustainable packaging.
Arco Berkenbosch, VP of Innovation and Development, commented: “We got a fantastic response to the competition which caught the imagination of a lot of very talented people both inside and outside the company.
“Both Eric and Kerstin’s ideas stood out for the versatility and innovation they offered. We plan to cooperate with both innovators to develop their winning ideas further. We are excited about taking each of them to the next level and adding them to our Better Planet Packaging product portfolio.”
Smurfit Kappa has assigned two Project Teams to explore the full potential of each winning idea. The Better Planet Packaging initiative is at the heart of Smurfit Kappa’s core business strategy.