Solid board made of tomato plants wins Packaging Europe Sustainability Awards 2016

winner of the Packaging Europe Sustainability Awards 2016 in category biobased packaging The winner of the Packaging Europe Sustainability Awards 2016 is the unique solid board enriched with tomato plant fibres, produced by SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS. This competition was organised for the second time by Packaging Europe, the renowned, international trade magazine about packaging. In each of the eight categories a winner was elected and the solid board enriched with tomato plant fibres won in the category ‘biobased packaging’.

Together with their partners in the Westland (the area in The Netherlands known for greenhouse horticulture), SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS developed a procedure to produce solid board using tomato plants. The fact that the same land produces both the tomatoes and the resources for their packaging was the deciding factor in winning the Packaging Europe Sustainability Awards 2016. Basically, tomatoes can be packed using ‘their own’ plant fibres.

This innovation may reduce the emission of CO2 for each ton of board (appr. 200 boxes for 6 kg / 13 lbs tomatoes) by 54,500 g CO2 eq. In other words, this is the equivalent of a CO2 emission when driving 420 kilometres (260 miles) by car.

The same land produces both the tomatoes and the resources for their packagingEvery year, approximately 1800 Dutch hectares produce 85 million kilos of tomato plants and their life cycle usually ends when they are composted. However, together with waste paper, the plant residue can now be used to produce high grade, recyclable solid board. A hectare of tomato plants will produce 100,000 tomato boxes (trays of 6 kilogram), which is exactly what is needed to pack the 600 tons of tomatoes that the same hectare produces every year. This year’s crop therefore provides next year’s packing! Obviously, the board equivalent of these 100,000 trays may be used for other kinds of packaging.

A unique cooperation, called Bio Base Westland, involving growers, green waste processors, board mills, research institutions, universities, consultants and councils, led to a win-win situation. Growers may now buy the solid board packing, which has been enriched by their own plants, ‘back’ to pack their own tomatoes. SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS and Van Vliet Contrans will continue to optimise the process of making board out of tomato plants.

SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS has already developed the very first 3 and 5 kg solid board tomato boxes, enriched with tomato plant fibres, for The Greenery. For Harvest House, SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS produced the first 250 to 500 g tomato trays for consumers. SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS recently also produced new 1,5 and 5 kg tomato boxes using this unique board for Naturelle, a wholesale specialising in organic products and affiliate of The Greenery.

SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS would like to thank its partners Duijvestijn Tomaten, Harvest House, The Greenery, Tomatenbedrijf Lans and Van Vliet Contrans for their contribution to this competition and congratulate them on winning this award.