AGI – The fight against plastic is “done in the kitchen” if films and bags for food preservation are made with a natural and antibacterial product such as beeswax. So far, in less than three years, this invention, which has arrived in thousands of Italian homes, has saved around 5,000 kilometers of plastic. The calculation is quick: since each sheet of beeswax ‘film’ it replaces at least 400 meters of plastic bags, cellophane, aluminum and disposable packaging.
Massimo Massarotto, 40, entrepreneur from Castelfranco Veneto, USA, where he lives today, managed to materialize his “idea” and transfer it to Italy, paving the way for a new ethical market and revolution ecological in the kitchen. Its Apepak, the food wrap obtained from a mixture of beeswax, jojoba oil, cotton and pine resin, all absolutely certified organic and natural, was born in 2018 almost by chance.
“My wife Molly – says Massarotto – had received a good amount of wax from her beekeeper father. Instead of making the classic candles, Molly then organizes a “crafternoon” in the kitchen, that is to say an “after- creative noon”. We end up creating different ‘beeswrapes’, envelopes by the bees, spreading crushed wax with jojoba oil and pine resin on some fabrics that he had inherited from his grandmother. We we plan to give them to relatives and friends and we also send them to Italy”. “A cousin from Turin starts asking me about others, because she couldn’t find such a thing in Italy.”
Hence the business idea: “I think: Italy is a leading nation in everything and especially in food: why not create innovation in this area? I immediately did a search and understood that there was room.” Massarotto grew up in the marketing sector: after obtaining his degree in international business management at ESE Nottingham Trent University, he has worked as a digital and marketing manager for important companies and multinationals.
Apepak’s experience, in addition to being for him an entrepreneurial adventure, also represents the epilogue of an inner search: “A kind of restlessness has accompanied me since adolescence – he says -, I I have always been predisposed to creativity, but in Italy I often received bad doors and I rarely succeeded in realizing the ideas I had. Here I never found the same propensity for risk that is prevalent in United States where, among other things, the first thing people ask you is: can your idea solve a problem or is it just beautiful? That’s why Apepak was born”.
If it doesn’t work, at least alleviates the problem of plastic pollution, is committed to protecting the biodiversity of bees, and is also active in the social field because the casings are made by a Venetian cooperative that employs people with disabilities. “Using Apepak daily – explains Massarotto – the oceans save 1 square meter of disposable plastic per day. It has been calculated that each Apepak, if used daily, saves up to 9 square kilometers of cellophane or plastic. aluminum released into the environment.
Apepak’s adventure began immediately: “I paid for the first 200 prototypes out of my own pocket and opened on facebook to recruit as many volunteers as possible to test the product. The welcome was exceptional and from there they took over the company and the production: we created a beautiful network of collaborations”. The social cooperative L’Incontro Industria 4.0 of Vedelago, in the province of Treviso, produces scarves with raw materials strictly made in Italy and certified, from cotton to oil and resin.The main product, beeswax, is purchased by the consortium of beekeepers Conapi.The film lasts at least one year and can be washed more than 100 times in cold water; finally, it is 100% biodegradable.
“Apepak – explains Massarotto – it is the only brand compared to its competitors to also pursue a regenerative activity. Whoever buys our “film” receives also as a gift flower seeds for bees which, if planted in the garden or on the balcony, give bees the food they need to produce honey and wax, products that we use in our shoes”.
The economic return
With this system, Apepak has so far generated about 10,000 hours of work for the members of the social cooperative and contributed to the planting of 7 hectares of flowers for the bees. It can be used as normal film to store bread, rolls, sandwiches and as take-out packaging for the office or for a picnic. “The bags – explains the entrepreneur – are perfect for storing the salad once washed, as they retain its humidity and crunchiness, while the wax and oil keep the bacterial load low and slow down mold. The same goes for bread and cheeses”.
The use of these ecological packaging, in addition to being a model of circular economy it is also an incentive to save: “The data – comments Massarotto – show that an average family uses up to 600 meters of transparent plastic per year. Apart from the depressing large amount of non-biodegradable waste in which this translates, such use will cost up to 50 euros by A cling film of beeswax worth less than 7 euros can on the contrary be used repeatedly throughout the year”.
In Italy, Apepak can be purchased online, directly on the site or in various networks of stores selling ethical products. Among the company’s ethical choices, there is also that of not turning to any e-commerce multinational for the distribution of products and, at the same time, the idea of collaborating with artisanal companies that produce high-quality food quality, such as meats or sausages. , and who choose Apepak for packaging. A new adventure is in preparation: to arrive in mass distribution and serve the food industry in all respects.