SUMBOX is a cardboard box that is recycled into paper and is capable of replacing EPS plastic in the cold chain of fresh products. SUMBOX boxes are already being commercialized and used in the Spanish market.
The project, co-financed by the Waste Agency of Catalonia, has demonstrated the technical, environmental and market feasibility of a new high-performance packaging to replace expanded polystyrene applied to the distribution of fresh products in wholesale food distribution.
The SUMBOX box, manufactured by Hinojosa Packaging and with intellectual property in more than 30 countries in the 5 continents, is mainly made of recyclable corrugated cardboard. The paper composition and its design give it unique properties such as water resistance, watertightness, isothermal capacity and total customization in sizes and designs.
In spite of the fact that EPS is also a recyclable material, the current scenario provides us with magnitudes that are still very deficient in terms of its recovery mechanisms. According to the European Association of Plastic Recycling (EPRO, 2016) only a minority fraction is recycled (27%) and the majority continues to end up in landfills (33%) or destined for energy recovery (40%).
The project has allowed the innovative SUMBOX solution to have a technical-environmental validation by the Technological Center Leitat. The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) carried out has determined that the environmental impact of SUMBOX boxes compared to Expanded Polystyrene is lower in all the categories analysed. The reduction of the impact on the carbon footprint is relevant, which would be reduced between 50-70% with the use of SUMBOX. On the other hand, the recyclability study carried out in the project demonstrates that SUMBOX boxes are easily and effectively recyclable with standardized collection systems and existing processes, a key attribute that generates a great difference.
Furthermore, the project has allowed a validation of the SUMBOX product in the market through the stakeholders involved in the supply chain of fresh products. This market validation has been carried out by marketAAD, which has conducted a process of identification of business opportunities and barriers to the adoption of the new solution. The results have been classified in terms of market and sustainability, obtaining challenges and opportunities in both categories. On the one hand, the challenge for the solution to penetrate the wholesale trade, which is very cost-oriented, but on the other hand, the great opportunity to implement SUMBOX packaging in different ecosystems predisposed to acquire sustainable innovation solutions with high added value, such as B2B supply to fisheries, retailers and restaurants in the HORECA channel, and also for the growing B2C channel of e-commerce of fresh products.
SUMBOX is expected to grow exponentially in the national and international market with its sustainable packaging solution for fresh food cold chain, being a purchase currently available to its customers. All available information can be found on their new website: www.sumbox.com
This project has been driven by the aid to promote the circular economy in the framework of industrial innovation projects in packaging that leads the Packaging Cluster in Catalonia.