2018 will forever be remembered as the year that nature took a stand against plastic. Whether it’s bacteria that digests plastic or sugarcane became an alternative to LEGO, the natural world is full of surprises that can help the packaging industry reduce our reliance on plastics. Today we’re putting the “buzz” in Ernest Buzz with a peek into the world of plastic alternatives inspired by bees!
Look, we get it. Bees might not be the first things that come to mind when you think about packaging, but the industry owes a lot to nature’s hardest workers. Take honeycomb board, for example — it’s a lightweight material that can bear a heavy load thanks to its beehive-like construction. Its natural design is also the secret to how we got our Cardboard Chaos surfboard to be so strong and buoyant without the use of plastic!
Cardboard: Hey bees, can we copy your homework? Bees: Yeah, just change it up a bit.
While honeycomb provides great structural integrity for packaging, bees also provide a natural product that can be used in place of plastic. Innovators have put beeswax to excellent use as packaging material — it’s biodegradable and compostable, much like the new wave of eco-plastics that have made a sustainable splash in our industry.
Photo courtesy of Bee Bright
Eco-friendly beeswax sweetens the pot for the food industry, too. Bee Bright, made by designer Maude Paquette-Boulva, puts the material to ingenious use as a container with dual uses: it starts its life as a non-plastic honey container made out of beeswax. Once you’ve licked up the last drop of honey, you can flip Bee Bright over and light it as a candle.
“With growing concern for what happens to our packaging waste, the goal of this honey container entirely made out of beeswax was to have it disappear completely once the product was eaten,” says Paquette-Boulva. With the honey consumed, beeswax burned and wooden lid composted, 100% of the product and packaging are taken back by Mother Nature. How’s that for bee-autiful?
Photo courtesy of Bee’s Wrap
For an insect with such a short lifespan, bees make a packaging product with a surprisingly long shelf life. Bee’s Wrap is a beeswax-based food packaging alternative to plastic wrap that can be reused for up to a year! Plastic wrap is one of the biggest offenders in non-recyclable packaging, so finding a sustainable alternative that’s so long-lasting is a big win for Mother Nature.
Great packaging floats like a butterfly and stings like a… well, you know. When we learn from nature, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish. Learn more about how we made our Cardboard Chaos surfboard a reality, all thanks to inspiration from bees.