the biginterview Currently 76% of Local Authorities collect pots,

tubs and trays as part of their kerbside recycling schemes but not many collect the black plant pots. This is because the plant pots contain carbon black pigment which absorbs Infra-Red from detection systems, hindering recycling. The new pot will use a carbon black pigment free polypropylene solving this problem. Chris added: “Hillier is committed to driving positive change and working in partnership in the horticulture industry and each year makes a concerted effort in developing new plants, new ways of growing and utilising new technology to ensure the growth of the industry in a safe and sustainable way for generations to come.” Hillier has continued to grow since its foundation in 1864 by Edwin Hillier, and remains a family-run nursery with the fifth generation now actively involved in the family business. The company employs over 500 staff across its wholesale nursery, trees and 12 garden centre divisions, and grows approximately two million plants a year and is the largest tree grower in the UK. Over the years, Hillier has been responsible for numerous plant introductions, many of which have become essentials in British gardens and it continues with the tradition of innovation and the introduction of new garden plants in the present day.

‘We need to work together’

While being the first to commercially use the new recyclable pots is a major fillip for Hillier, it is not the only business to examine its practices and look for sustainable solutions. To make a significant impact, the entire industry needs to take steps.

It is important that as many suppliers, retailers and consumers as possible engage with efforts to reduce waste, so it is heartening to see that further businesses are looking to reduce their own environmental impact. Commercial horticultural nursery Johnsons of Whixley, one of the largest commercial suppliers in Europe, has revealed that it is currently trialling a new type of plant pot to join the industry battle against plastic waste.

wider issue so we are really keen to find out how the tests go and hopefully this can be the beginning of various ways we, as a business and industry, continue to keep taking care of our surroundings.”

Throughout its 100-year history, Johnsons has pioneered environmentally-friendly processes in the horticultural industry including ensuring its waste pots are collated, palleted, collected and recycled correctly. It has

The introduction of the new kerbside recyclable plant pot throughout our nurseries will have a considerable impact

Johnsons’ new taupe-coloured plant pots, in collaboration with pot manufacturer Aeroplas UK, are made from 98% recycled plastic and are detectable by domestic waste separation systems which means they can be put back into the recycling stream.

They are distinct from standard pots, which feature the aforementioned carbon pigment that compromises recognition, and results in millions of pots ending up in landfill every year. Johnsons’ new product is set to be tested

throughout 2019 to identify any impact on growing performance. If no issues are found, the new pots will be available to the company’s garden centre customers across 2020. Johnsons of Whixley garden centre sales manager Mark Reynard said: “As an industry we need to work together on ways to reduce landfill to keep our environment thriving. “This innovative way is a small part of a much

also held the ISO Standard 14001, which sets the standard for Environmental Management Systems, since 2008.

Johnsons of Whixley is also a member Pennine-Pack – an organisation that works with others to stimulate recycling in a sustainable way – and supports the Ethical Compliance packaging scheme whereby recycling is undertaken within the UK.

However, these steps are only the beginning. The industry has a commendable reputation with regard to reducing waste and maintaining an eco-conscious approach, so it is up to more companies within horticulture to ensure that they are doing everything they can to improve their environmental impact. It is not only good for the planet, but with

an ever-growing awareness of eco credentials among consumers, it can be good for business too.

Current black plant pots contain carbon pigment which absorbs Infra-Red from detection systems, hindering recycling – which is not an issue with new taupe pots

6 | GCU November/December 2018

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