June 19, 2008

Eight Questions With Cal Diller

It’s not easy not being “green.” With the spotlight on sustainability these days, companies that use plastic as a manufacturing material would seem to be at a disadvantage in the marketplace of public opinion. But that doesn’t have to be the case says Cal Diller, president of East Jordan Plastics. Diller’s company, a family-owned horticultural container business in East Jordan, Mich., made the shift from wooden greenhouse flats to plastic bedding plant flats and inserts in the early 1960s. He says the affordability and convenience of plastics played a significant role in getting plant material to market over the last four decades, and despite the negative press, he believes plastic is still the best option available. We spoke with Diller about the pressures of being a plastic pot manufacturer in 2008, the viability of recycling as a sustainability strategy, and the future of plastic at East Jordan Plastics.  1. GG: One […]

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June 13, 2008

Basket Bonanza!

Growers Can Gather Moss Austram is the originator of the CocoMoss-lined hanging basket as a retail item. The grower line is ProGro, which offers a flat-bottomed, PE-coated basket with the woven liner inserted. There is a plastic dish in the basket to help with water retention. The wire hanger is included but not attached. The hook on the hanger is designed to fit over greenhouse purlins and the baskets have simple hanger attachment guides. ProGro baskets are available in white in 10 inches through 28 inches and green and hammered silver in selected sizes. The Duchess style ProGro was modeled from one of the most successful retail basket styles. It comes in an antique green powder-coated finish with a zinc undercoat. Duchess is a sweeping flat wire design that adds a volume look to a basket. It’s available in 12-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch sizes. Lotus is Austram’s newest and possibly […]

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April 9, 2008

Myers Merger Agreement Terminated

Myers Industries, an international manufacturer of horticultural containers based in Akron, Ohio, will not merge with GS Capital Partners after nearly a year of negotiations. GS Capital Partners is the private-equity vehicle of Goldman Sachs Group, which offered to buy Myers for more than $1 billion last April. Goldman then paid a $35 million non-refundable fee in December for the right to evaluate conditions in the industry, and it notified Myers this month that it no longer intended to proceed with the acquisition. Myers is a 75-year-old manufacturer of brands like Dillen Products, ITML, Listo Products and Pro Cal. It also makes polymer products for the automotive and industrial markets.

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April 2, 2008

Poppelmann Now Offers Biodegradable Pots

Poppelmann, the German-based company with a manufacturing facility in North Carolina, has developed a new line of biodegradable TEKU pots that degrade completely within three to four months under large-scale composting conditions. TEKU biodegradable pots are olive green in color and available in three different sizes–3.5 inches, 4.125 inches and 4.75 inches. Poppelmann’s goal from the start was to create a material mix for biodegradable pots that not only degrades well, but offers serviceability and does not influence plant quality. Two of the materials that make up more than 80 percent of the raw material in the pots are starch and vegetable dextrose, both renewable materials. Co-polyester, the third material, is a fossil material that is 100 percent biodegradable.

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February 27, 2008

New Jersey Encourages Plastic Recycling

The New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association recently teamed with New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus to stress the importance of recycling plastics to growers. New Jersey’s year-round nursery and greenhouse film collection and recycled program is now in its 12th year. “Recycling agricultural plastics is an important component to the overall sustainability of New Jersey’s agriculture industry, both economically and environmentally,” Kuperus said. “Farmers practicing good stewardship of the land and throughout their enterprise by reducing waste and recycling and reusing as many materials as they can is not only good for business, but also good for the environment. Our agricultural plastics recycling program helps farmers attain those stewardship goals.” Growers have recycled more than 5.5 million pounds of film, including some which is used to cover greenhouses for environmental control and hoop houses for over-wintering of nursery material. In 2007 alone, 715,000 pounds of film were […]

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December 26, 2007

Recycle Your Seed Vials

Ball Horticultural Co. is extending the life of its seed vials through a new empty vial return program. The program encourages customers to return empty seed vials to the company to be cleaned and reused for future packaging, offering a sustainable solution for growers who want an environmentally responsible way to dispose of their empty vials. Customers can simply call Ball at 800-879-BALL to start the empty vial return process. Ball will pay for return shipments of 70 or more vials from customers in the United States. The program applies to Ball vials only. Vials should be empty. Each vial should have a cap or lid in order to be reused. Labels placed on vials by customers should be removable. For more information, contact your Ball sales representative or the company at 800-879-BALL.

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December 12, 2007

Myers Acquisition Delayed

Myers Industries’ board of directors announced Monday that GS Capital Partners (GSCP) has requested more time to complete the acquisition of the colossal container manufacturer. Based in Akron, Ohio, Myers produces plastic horticultural containers under the Dillen, ITML, Listo Products and Pro Cal brands. In consideration for extending the closing date of the sale from Dec. 15 to April 30, 2008, GSCP has agreed to make a non-refundable payment to Myers of the previously agreed upon $35 million fee. GCSP has secured an extension of its debt financing commitments from Goldman Sachs Credit Partners and Key Bank and GSCP has agreed to contribute another $30 million of equity to the transaction. GSCP has acknowledged there has been no material adverse change in Myers’ business and the deadline request resulted from its desire to further evaluate conditions in certain industries which Myers operates. In addition to horticulture, industries include automotive and […]

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July 25, 2007

Poppelman’s New Production Facility

Poppelmann Plastics USA has started producing thermoformed and injection-molded pots for its TEKU division in a new factory in Claremont, N.C. Representing an investment of more than $12 million, the plant contains 55,000 square feet of production and warehousing space. Operations also include offset printing and labeling for marketing purposes. For more information about the German pot producer, visit http://www.poppelmannusa.com.

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July 25, 2007

Summit Distributes Circle Of Life Pots

Ball Horticultural Co.’s biodegradable Circle of Life Pots will be distributed exclusively through Summit Plastic Co. The pots are made of rice hulls and are available in sizes ranging from 3.5 inches to a trade gallon. Pots are available branded as part of Circle of Life or with no brand. Pots will be distributed from Akron, Ohio and Seattle, Wash. For more information, visit http://www.ballhort.com/News_Event.aspx?newsID=65.

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June 13, 2007

Trashing Plastics

An article published in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune alerts gardeners to the amount of plastic waste our industry is generating, and even goes as far as to recommend consumers buy fewer plants and grow their own from seed and cuttings. However, we do agree with the suggestion suggestion that our industry (container manufacturers) should make it easier for consumers to recycle the pots and trays by marking them with recycling codes. Many already do. To read the article, “Beauty and the Plastic Beast,” visit: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/nearwest/chi-0610plastic_jpjun10,1,5806552.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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June 13, 2007

New Jersey Recycles Agricultural Plastics

New Jersey Department of Agriculture has been recycling greenhouse film since 1997 and expanded the program to include nursery pots, trays, cell paks, drip irrigation tape and plastic pesticide containers. Since implementing the nursery and greenhouse film recycling program, growers have recycled more than 4.6 million pounds of film, saving Garden State farmers almost $140,000 in landfill tipping fees. A new recycling program allows growers to sell their agricultural plastics directly to plastics recyclers. The department hopes to expand this program to include landscapers and garden centers in the future. For more information, visit: http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/md/prog/recycling.html

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