What is Biopack&Transport?
The international ZIM cooperation network “Biopack&Transport” was launched on September 1st, 2019. It has so far brought together 12 small and medium-sized companies – ten of them German and two French – and three research institutes. The network is already being expanded and is growing steadily.
The goal of the network is to further develop the potential of fibre-based, eco-friendly packaging as a substitute for plastic packaging and also to open up this kind of packaging to the field of transport packaging. The packaging should be developed to be compostable and recyclable. The focus will be on the development of intelligent packaging, i.e. packaging that monitors the condition of the food it contains – for example, its freshness – and provides information on this. This is of particular interest for high-quality food products, as great importance is attached here to special, quality-assuring protection of the goods. For the organic sector, the use of environmentally friendly packaging is also a must.
France is a country known for its regional delicacies and thus offers excellent development opportunities for online trade. By including the French partners in the network, excellent bridges are created for the German partners in the form of industry contacts and research alliances. These enable them to open up new markets in the adjacent country.
In addition to the development of innovative packaging, the network also aims to encourage innovations that allow both companies and consumers to be able to provide transparent information about transport and to prepare the integration of the data with blockchain technology.
Which strategies are being pursued?
The topic of “sustainable transport” in connection with digitally operated logistics is becoming increasingly important, also in view of demographic change and the development of rural areas. Society is aging, and at the same time important facilities of general interest are being lost in rural areas, as the operation of grocery stores, doctors’ practices or pharmacies is often no longer worthwhile due to the shrinking population. Smart logistics solutions are in demand to ensure that all sections of the population at every location can be supplied on a sustainable basis.
The vision of the network is a sustainable packaging world that is also digitally integrated. The basis should be ecological base materials, with the focus on fibre-bound packaging. The raw materials for this are to come mainly from annual plants. This would enable the paper industry, which has lost around 20 percent of its market share in recent years due to digitalization in the graphics sector, to win back markets. In addition, the global amount of plastic waste could be reduced.
The planned innovations in the development of functional surfaces also focus exclusively on those materials that can be disposed of in the paper, cardboard and paperboard (PPK) fraction. This has two ecological advantages: firstly, only residues of annual plants are used, which are chemically unpolluted and which “accumulate anyway”; secondly, there is a high recycling rate in the PKK stream, and the recyclates enhance the quality of the process due to their unpolluted fibre structure.
Who can participate?
The network is suitable for small and medium-sized companies with a focus on packaging or transport issues – producers and suppliers, companies from the fields of metrology and process engineering as well as the food industry – who are interested in product development, market expansion, cross-industry interdisciplinary cooperation and networking.
Currently, 12 companies and five research institutions from Germany and France are participating in Biopack&Transport: