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Lyndale Blog - April 2021

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Away With Plastic

When the Sunday Star Times features a nursery industry business, it is cause for comment. The plant producing sector usually flies below the radar, except at times of biosecurity alerts or the like.

However, Mary Duncan of Vibrant Earth was profiled in the business section of the Sunday Star Times for her initiative in working towards a "way to ditch plastic in favour of a more environmentally friendly alternative".

In this case Vibrant Earth have been experimenting with growing, distributing and selling plants in biodegradable sleeves. As Mary notes in the article, "ultimately it would take customer pressure to move away from a reliance on plastic to more sustainable options."

Last year, the Government consulted on proposals to phase out certain hard to recycle plastics and single use items. Decisions on the proposals are expected towards the middle of this year.

Environmental Minister David Parker said "Plastic pots are not currently on the list, but the Government hopes the gardening industry will bring forward alternatives that are not plastic."

As an industry we need to come up with some alternatives to plastic that will fit the modern retailing model. If for no other reason than we may no longer be able to slip below the radar of public focus.


 


Mary Duncan


Biodegradable sleeves


David Parker

Been There

NZPPI or maybe its predecessor NGINZ (I lose track of the myriad name changes and when they happened), spent quite a lot of effort on behalf of the industry looking at the possibility of a garden industry specific collection and recycling system for plastic pots.

It never got off the ground at the time due to the cost involved and the fact that (in theory anyway) road side council collections would take the predominant grades of plastic that plant pots are made of.

However, the reality is that council roadside collections are shambolic with many believing that in recent times, most of the so called recycling collection are heading to landfill sites, as the overseas collection points (predominantly in Asia) have said no to any more waste streams.

This very real situation has left councils with having to set up real recycling schemes in NZ, a country where we have demolished our traditional recyclers and closed systems, especially of glass. They are struggling with the only success stories being very small time.

Bottom line is there is a lot of talk, but at the end of the line is a big hole in the ground being filled up rapidly with glass and plastic.

 


Landfill reality


Another plastic pots alternative

Lyndale Too

We have gone down the track of biodegradable pots with our early collaboration with Interworld Plastics to use modified injection plastic technology to make 5cm, 7cm and 9cm pots out of a slurry of rice husks and other green waste, bound together with a "secret" binding agent.

The pots were manufactured in China and sold widely in Australia and in NZ predominantly to Lyndale.

But while the concept was sound, the reality was that the quantity of the secret ingredient was key to how quickly or not the pots biodegraded. I suspect there are some still not degraded and I know there were many batches that broke down too early.

Bottom line was the pots were linked (incorrectly) with anything that went wrong with the plant well into the retail supply stream, plus with the unreliable nature of the degradation, led to us having to bail out of the concept.

We have recently revisited the biodegradable offering with our increasing use of Grownets.

These biodegradable spun protein product do biodegrade effectively and have provided a good plastic free alternative to paper pots and plastic at a young plant stage.

 


We tried


Proven success around the world


It is what happens next in terms of containerisation that is the bigger issue. Mary Duncan’s work with biodegradable sleeves is an option, but I am sure we are about to see many more.

Kind regards
The Lyndale Team

 

 

Lyndale Nurseries

Post PO Box 81 022, Whenuapai, Auckland
Street 82 Trig Rd, Whenuapai, Auckland
Web www.lyndale.co.nz
Email enquiries@lyndale.co.nz
Phone 09 416 8482
Fax 09 416 9268
   
©2021 Lyndale Nurseries. Pictures & information provided as a guide only.
 
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