October 21, 2008

Benchrunner Relay: A Positive Plastic Impact

The Chicago Tribune has planted a black eye on the industry regarding its use of plastic pots, but most criticism is unwarranted and premature as Greenhouse Grower Editor Delilah Onofrey wrote in her September 2008 column. Mike Bromerly, a national sales manager at T.O. Plastics, agrees criticism is unwarranted, and he wrote us to offer some thoughts on the positive state of plastic consumption at his company. To read Delilah’s column, “More Pot Shots,”. Bromerly’s letter in response to Delilah’s column is presented below: I read with great interest your commentary on the black eye that plastic pots used in our industry is receiving of late from some sources. As a responsible corporate citizen, T.O. Plastics takes very seriously its role in operating in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. As your article mentions, many containers utilized in our industry are produced from recycled plastics. At T.O. Plastics we do […]

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October 15, 2008

CowPots: The Next Big Thing?

Make way for CowPots. Liquid Fence Company recently added the manure-based growing pots to its line of environmentally friendly garden products, and President Edward Abraham is confident CowPots will benefit significantly from the company’s grower distribution network. “We’re proud to add this remarkable and truly green product to our line,” Abraham says. “We’ve been impressed with the whole idea of CowPots since we first heard about them.” Matt and Ben Freund, two brothers who are second generation dairy farmers, came up with CowPots. The Freunds have been leaders in developing technologies to help dairy farmers produce milk in an environmentally sound manner, and Freund’s Farm was one of the first in Connecticut to store manure to optimize crop nutrient uptake. Since 1997, the Freunds are one of only a few farms across the United States to have continuously run a methane digester. Cow manure is heated by the methane gas […]

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September 18, 2008

Pots & Trays Potpourri

Plantable Packs Western Pulp Products: The Molded Fiber Retail Plug Carrier for 65 and 70mm plugs contains 88 percent pre-consumer recycled paper content, making this product truly plantable. The carriers are available in three configurations: the 6-Pack Carrier, the 5-Pack Carrier and the new Hexagon Carrier. www.westernpulp.com Click images to enlarge Bio-Responsible Bellan International Unlimited: Coming from a pollution-free manufacturing process, Biopots are biodegradable and made from renewable natural materials, such as bamboo, straw and rice husks. When in contact with soil and water, Biopots will begin to breakdown after a year of use. Biopots allow plant roots to breathe, and they come in a variety of sizes. www.biopots.com   Easy Breathing ITML: Three new size additions to the TLC Ultra Series Square Plug Tray line are 128, 162 and 200. Designed with surface vent holes for greater air circulation around foliage, the 128, 162 and 200 TLC Ultra Series […]

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September 17, 2008

Ready, Set, Recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle: It has been the environmental mantra of the past couple of decades, and now it’s coming to growers via East Jordan Plastics’ new recycling effort. The container manufacturer is working to establish an infrastructure for reclaiming horticultural scrap for growers to reuse and East Jordan Plastics to recycle. Preliminary results from a trial program this past spring are positive, and the potential is huge, according to Cal Diller from East Jordan Plastics. “We can feel this thing growing, and it isn’t growing a little bit. I think it’s going to explode,” Diller says. “The trial we had this past spring with three growers and a large retailer in the Midwest went very well and we believe we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The driving factor right now to turning this into a major program is creating the right infrastructure to get these containers back to […]

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August 19, 2008

Myers Industries Seeks To Enhance Performance

Myers Industries expects to take on nearly $28 million in charges as it consolidates manufacturing and launches workflow and inventory management programs over the next 12 months. Myers did not, however, specify which of its facilities might close or be affected as a result of the company’s recently announced realignment. Myers intends to optimize customer service, reduce costs, increase competitive positioning and enhance long-term operating performance with the series of initiatives. “Our objective with the initiatives is to further improve our manufacturing network and processes to minimize operating costs and maximize customer satisfaction,” says John C. Orr, president and CEO. “That includes rationalizing our manufacturing footprint to lower overhead and distribution costs, improve operational effectiveness and reduce working capital requirements. “In doing so, we will be better positioned to serve our customers with the products they need, manufactured at the right location for the customer, and delivered when they need them.”

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June 23, 2008

The Dawn Of Design

Marco Wilschut, co-owner of Dutch pot producer Van Krimpen B.V., is stuck in Amsterdam traffic while driving back from a press conference hosted by the Horti Fair Innovation Awards Committee — a conference at which his company was nominated for two awards. Needless to say, despite the traffic snarl, his spirits are high. “We spoke with about 15 European journalists about two of our products,” he relates. “It was good free publicity, and they were very interested in our offerings.” As well they should be. The two products, one a labor-saving improvement on the common hanging basket and the other a new packaging design for bulb sales, span the breadth of the dilemma facing today’s pot and tray producers. Companies from around the globe are being asked to do more for the growers they serve, to juggle lead times in ordering cycles with higher input costs, and all of this […]

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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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