September 28, 2010

Biocontainers For Long-Term Crops

The terms organic, sustainable, alternative and green have become part of our vernacular in a way we could not have imagined a decade ago. Consequently, there has been a proliferation of new products in all sectors fashioned to these ideals. Being the true “green industry” by nature, it is only fitting these products be incorporated–or, more accurately, reincorporated–into greenhouse production and marketing. Although innovations like recycling are still taking place in the firmly planted roots of plastic containers, there are a number of alternative choices, collectively termed “biocontainers” or “biopots.” It is not uncommon to produce or market herbs and vegetables in these containers. Recent studies have focused on trialing biocontainers for use in bedding plant production, typically with a four- to six-week turnover. But growing and selling a long-term crop such as poinsettia or cyclamen in a container that has the tendency to “return to nature” is potentially more […]

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September 23, 2010

New Life For Old Plastic

The concept of horticultural plastic recycling always seemed like a nice idea that was just too expensive to seriously consider. For manufacturers, recycled material was more costly than virgin material. For growers, collecting, sorting, transporting and storing used trays and pots didn’t really pencil out either. When the price of crude oil peaked in 2008, however, recycling started to get some attention. Fortunately for the industry’s heating bills those sky-high prices didn’t last too long, but the interest in recycling and reusing plastic trays and pots has remained. With rising interest from consumers and retailers in keeping plastic out of landfills, the industry is finding ways to make recycling a more common part of the greenhouse production cycle. Get Everyone Involved Volume is the key to making a recycling program a realistic option for growers. No recycler is interested in sending a truck out to pick up a single pallet […]

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September 23, 2010

Looking At Sustainability

Biodegradable horticultural containers predate plastic but are capturing fresh interest from growers, retailers and consumers. One company that has seen sustainability come full circle is Western Pulp in Covallis, Ore. Starting with a bushel of old magazines and $250 for homemade experimental equipment, in 1954 Ralph Chapman was the first to bring fiber molded floral containers out West. Western Pulp’s current owners purchased the business in 1958 and now have operations in six states. Even back then, before the environment was a societal concern, Western Pulp was diverting tons of paper from landfills. Paper mache floral lines transitioned naturally to nursery and greenhouse lines, because traditional florists also were growers. Product lines have since expanded to eco-friendly protective packaging for shipping. One growing customer base is wineries that ship bottles or wine direct to consumers. The newspaper Western Pulp uses as a raw material is collected from households by charitable […]

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September 14, 2010

Eco-Friendly Pot From Jiffy Is Automation Ready

New Jiffy CarbonLite containers use less energy to manufacture than other common and bio-based solutions. The new container uses a biobased manufacturing technology made primarily from plant starches. “Being produced with significantly less energy and almost zero petroleum-based inputs results in reduced reliance on foreign oil while improving your company’s carbon footprint and green image,” says Rick Friedrich, Jiffy’s General Manager for North America. “Jiffy CarbonLite products are clean, green and affordable.” Jiffy is targeting growers and retailers who want custom and exclusive containers, Friedrich says. Certified as Vincotte Ok Biobased and recycable, Jiffy CarbonLite products are suitable for 4-color printing and will fit most automated production systems. “Our company culture at Jiffy has always been to reduce the use of plastic pots, with our coir and peat pots we help reduce plastic pots use by millions of units every day,” comments Roelof Drost , Global Director of Marketing. “A […]

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September 1, 2010

Blackmore Introduces New Trays

The new Blackmore Company 72 T Ellepot 30-millimeter tray has fluted cell walls for added strength and to help lock in Ellepots during shipping. The community watering design tray is vented and has a cross bottom pop-up design to facilitate drainage and plant removal. The latest addition to the Blackmore line of plug trays is the 207. The new tray features a vented design, label ramp and large drain holes. Tray depth is 1.75 inches; volume per cell is 12cc. Learn more about the Blackmore Company at BlackmoreCo.com.

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July 16, 2010

Ellepots Has New Tray Option

[imageviewer] Ellepots by A.M.A. Plastics has added another tray option to its extensive Ellepot lineup. The 35 x 65 millimeter Ellepot in a 72-deep tray offers the extra depth and soil volume that cutting propagators need for a variety of crops, including roses, nursery stock, fruit or nut trees and some perennials, while using bench space efficiently. E-mail ama@amaplas.com for more information.

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July 14, 2010

Fiber Pots: Past And Future

The dark fiber pots of Western Pulp Products are complementary to plants and have been around longer than you may think, says Western Pulp’s Jim Lee. After all, back in the days when plants were knife-cut out of flats they were then wrapped in newspaper. “What’s new is old,” Lee says. Since 1954, Western Pulp has offered pots made from newspaper and paper fiber. Lee says the industry is best served with a range of product price points, and that’s reflected in the size Western Pulp offers. Sometimes in a good, better, best model, the better and best sells are more popular. There’s a definite trend toward the 12-inch pot over the 10-inch pot, Lee says. The history of the mixed container in the industry explains pricing trends that still stand today. “It [mixed containers] started as an end of the season way to get rid of leftovers,” Lee says. So […]

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July 11, 2010

The Top Hat Pot

A number of decorative, colorful pots caught my eye on the trade show floor Saturday at OFA Short Course. One company with standout pots is P.E.X., a Quincy, Mass.-based company that’s now in its second year. P.E.X.’s decorative pots stand out for a couple reasons: 1) they’re shaped like top hats; and 2) pots have shiny gold rims. Those gold rims might not necessarily stand out if a plant’s leaves are hanging over the pot’s edge, but the containers are still worth a look for growers in search of a unique decorative container. P.E.X.’s Jack Montanile says a few growers are even producing plants directly in the decorative containers. The company also offers basic planters, hanging baskets and bowls in addition to the decorative containers.

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June 11, 2010

Western Pulp’s Products Validated As Sustainable

Western Pulp Products headquartered in Corvallis, Ore., has chosen to recertify its products through the Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) for the third year in a row. Western Pulp chose SCS to verify its content because the company has internationally recognized standards and certification programs in pursuit of the highest level of environmental performance and social accountability. “This certification gives credence to the point that we want to be factual and stay away from any unsupported claims,” says Jim Lee, Western Pulp’s marketing and sales manager. “Anytime we state that our products are made from recycled paper fiber, we want consumers to know that it’s backed with credible SCS certification.” Adds Rick Hurley, vice president of technology: “Our success in paper recycling reflects a commitment to conserve natural resources and recognition that recovered paper is an important raw material in producing innovative molded fiber products. Our use of recovered paper keeps […]

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May 18, 2010

Bio-Pots Add Value, But How Much?

A Purdue University-led study finds consumers are willing to pay more for a variety of sustainable pots that use recycled materials. "The floriculture industry uses a lot of plastic, and, in recent years, has come under pressure to become more sustainable and use biodegradable or compostable pots," says Roberto Lopez, an assistant professor of horticulture at Purdue and co-author of the paper on the findings. "There is concern about recouping the costs of becoming sustainable. People say they are willing to spend 50 cents more for sustainable pots, so we wanted to see if they actually would." Surveys have consistently shown consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products in the floriculture industry. Purdue’s Brian Wallheimer, however, says the industry has been slow to adopt items such as sustainable pots because growers have concerns about recouping the cost of investments in sustainable practices and materials. The Research […]

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March 16, 2010

New Trays From Blackmore

Blackmore recently introduced two new trays: the 102 Orphan and the Ellepot 72 Deep trays. 102 Orphan Blackmore’s 102 Orphan tray keeps six cuttings attached to the mother tray in an orphan strip that is easily broken off at the time of shipment. There’s no more looking for orphans to replace cuttings that didn’t take in the mother tray. The 1 5/8-inch deep tray has fluted walls for extra strength and is ideal for propagation with 25-millimeter Ellepots. Ellepot 72 Deep The Ellepot 72 Deep tray (11 x 21 1/2 inches) is designed to accept 35-millimeter Ellepots. The 2 ½-inch deep tray features fluted cell walls for extra strength that also act as a conduit to get air to the bottom of the cell and extra large drain holes. Soil volume for loose fill is 70 cc.  For more information on either product or additional products from Blackmore, visit BlackmoreCo.com […]

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