The agriculture without plastics It is possible, thanks to the new biodegradable and compostable material that a company has created and that is already being applied to crops in regions such as Murcia or Navarra. It is a paper for padding floors that replaces conventional plastic.
The Smurfit Kappa company has developed a new and revolutionary paper that replaces polyethylene and is ideal for agricultural uses that require this type of material. Made with long pine fibers from sustainably managed forests in northern Spain, AgroPaper allows for efficient and environmentally friendly mulching. It prevents weed growth but does not need to be removed after harvest as it is fully compostable. In addition, it can be placed with the usual machinery.
AgroPaper is fully compostable according to the EN13432 standard and has optimal temperature control so as not to overheat the crop like polyethylene. Handling costs are also lower than those of plasticsince the paper is completely biodegradable and compostable, which creates organic matter for the benefit of the soil.
The development of this product is the result of long years of experimentation in which Several business groups, the CSIC and the Government of Navarra have intervened, which have supported the Life Agropaper Project, with the support of the European Union. The result of the investigations has been awarded by the Government of Navarra and has obtained one of the European Prizes for the Environment.
The objective, according to Iñaki Urdaci, marketing director of Smurfit Kappa, is “to contribute to the sustainable development of agriculture with 100% renewable and biodegradable paper solutions, which help to avoid generating plastic waste”.
For their part, the representatives of the companies Florette, Grupo AN and Floréale explained in the presentation of the project: “We have implemented this material in different types of crops in various geographical locations, with different climates, such as Navarra and Murcia. We observe that paper retains many of the advantages of conventional plastic in its application in agriculture”, said Hassen Merdassi, project manager at Florette.
“We know that cover crops are effective in controlling weeds and warming the soil. For this reason, we get involved in the Life Agropaper project, testing the paper for lettuce, sweet potato, chives or zucchini. The solution seems very interesting to us, because it is a biodegradable, renewable material that comes from sustainable agriculture”, pointed out the person in charge of Floréale in France.
Iñaki Urdaci, from Smurfit Kappa, added that this project, “in addition to contributing to promoting the use of vegetable fiber mulch to the detriment of the use of plastic covers, will provide producers with reliable and proven technical information on the viability of using mulch role in different edaphoclimatic conditions and on its possible positive impacts on the soil and crop health”.
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