Metsä Board’s paperboard box for golf balls that can be reused as an insect habitat has been named the winner of the 2022 New Wood competition, run by the Finnish organisation Uusi Puu with the aim of recognising innovative and sustainable wood-based products.

The golf ball packaging is a result of a creative workshop organised by Metsä Board as part of its 360 Services, which apparently covers the whole packaging value chain by utilising the state-of-the-art Excellence Centre in Äänekoski, Finland.

Gunilla Nykopp, customer experience manager of Metsä Board’s packaging design team, explains: “In 2021 we organised 36 virtual workshops with our customers and partners. The process concentrated on improving the current package whilst creating something completely new, like this insect hotel.

“The packaging is an excellent example of how teamwork can create something totally new.”

The packaging is made from MetsäBoard Pro FBB Bright folding paperboard and is manufactured by PackageMedia Oy, part of Pyroll Packaging. When empty, the companies say that the golf ball box can be turned into an “insect hotel”, providing shelter for bugs and larvae thanks to the separate parts made of paperboard included in the cover.

Ilkka Harju, packaging services director EMEA and APAC at Metsä Board, comments: “To create the insect hotel concept, we needed close cooperation between all the partners. The design process involved Golf Coat, the originator of the idea, packaging design company Futupack, packaging converter Pyroll and our own designers.

“The insect hotel is a good example of how we can support biodiversity in the city as well. You can help pollinating insects by placing an insect hotel on your balcony or in your yard, for example, in a sheltered and sunny place.”

Aki Kuivaniemi, CEO of Golf Coat Oy, adds: “Our aim was to create a simple, smart and cost-effective structure that would be easy to assemble and fill with, for example, leaves, sawdust or dry grass after its primary use as a golf ball box.

“Metsä Board and its partners developed an insightful packaging that provides an artificial nesting structure and shelter for insects and pollinators.”

First launched in February 2022, the golf box packaging that doubles as an insect hotel is currently sold in Finland, Sweden, Korea, and Japan.

Earlier this month, the packaging solution reportedly received the most public votes in the Spring 2022 New Wood competition run by Uusi Puu, which allows the audience to vote on sustainable, wood-based products. Metsä Board’s packaging was up against twelve other wood-based innovations with the audience vote drawing almost a thousand participants, according to Uusi Puu.

Martta Fredrikson, CEO of the Finnish Forest Foundation, who awarded the prizes, says of the competition: “It’s great to get attention for new wood-based solutions, many of which are already part of everyday life. The versatility of the products in the New Wood competition shows how wood-based materials are suitable for a wide range of solutions.”

Kuivaniemi concludes: “Our packaging provides a habitat that is good for nature, and also brings circular economy thinking to the game of golf, it is also good for the image of the sport as a whole.

“The encouraging responses from the public, inspired by the New Wood vote, are testament to this concept – it was a pleasure to read them and use them to further innovate new packaging.”