Less Plastic Please!15 February 2021
The goal is clear: in 2025, Royal FloraHolland will be using 20% less plastic than in 2017, plastic packaging and products will be 100% recyclable, and we will be recycling more. Luckily, we are not on our own. Tuinbranche Nederland has the same ambition.
"This incredibly unusual year of 2020 with corona has brought us more awareness about climate, green and health. This means that the developments with regards to sustainability have been put in a higher gear, also by garden centres." Brenda Horstra (pictured), deputy director of Tuinbranche Nederland is speaking. Tuinbranche Nederland is the trade association for garden retailers and their suppliers. Members include garden centres, but also growers, manufacturers and wholesalers of hard materials, from (potting) soil to garden furniture. Tuinbranche Nederland is, just like Royal FloraHolland, aiming for less plastic, and it is also participating in the Industry Plan Sustainable Packaging (Brancheplan Duurzaam Verpakken; see below). Chain cooperation is needed to reduce plastic. To put it more strongly: we can only reach this goal together, and not without each other. How are we moving forward together?
"Circular work is something you do together. In our industry plan, we have aligned the goals regarding packaging with Royal FloraHolland: trays, pots, labels and sleeves. The cooperation with Royal FloraHolland is moving along smoothly. It makes me very enthusiastic. Together we are strong. We are stimulating the garden centres, Royal FloraHolland stimulates the growers, and this way, we are achieving results. 1 + 1 = 3. For example, in 2020, we organised workshops together for suppliers and retailers. We will continue to do so this year." During these workshops, Tuinbranche Nederland and Royal FloraHolland share practical tips and successful ways of circular working. Jacco Duindam, consultant logistic supplies at Royal FloraHolland: "People literally run in to each other during these workshops. As a result, there is now a pilot to gather the one-time-use Normpack-trays at garden centres and ship them directly to manufacturers for recycling. It doesn't get any more circular than that."
Terms of delivery
Even though people have become more aware of sustainability due to corona, the worldwide pandemic also caused a lot of delays in the many plans of Tuinbranche Nederland. "We had to deal with corona and the measures in the garden centres." Tuinbranche Nederland has now incorporated the goals into their terms of delivery. A number of organizations and companies have already aligned themselves with this. The intention is that garden centres will use these purchasing terms and conditions, says Brenda. "Reducing the one-time-use plant trays is one of our big goals. We have to wrap plants and flowers in a reduced amount of plastic, just enough to ensure the product reaches the final user undamaged. The plastic should also be completely recyclable."
A random selection of tips and recommendations from the terms of delivery: avoid the use of stickers and labels and choose to print information of the foil, limit printing on boxes, the use of multiple-use flower packaging and plant trays is preferred, avoid - wherever possible - the use of tags (for example with garden plants) and use the shelf or pot to inform the customer, and only use covers when it is functionally necessary for the protection of vulnerable plants and flowers.
Every year, over 60 million people visit garden centres. Brenda: "We have to seduce them to handle packaging differently. In a very easy way, we can bring about changes in behaviour. To instruct consumers on the way packaging should be discarded, a garbage pointer should be pictured on the sales packaging. Another example: return a tray and you will receive a free plant, or something along those lines. People would love to live more sustainable, the problem is that sometimes, they simply don't know how to. As an sector and floriculture industry, we could be of great help to them."
About the Industry Plan Sustainable Packaging (Brancheplan Duurzaam Verpakken)
In addition to participating in Plastic Pact NL, Royal FloraHolland is also participating in the Industry Plan Sustainable Packaging through the VBN. Just like twenty other trade associations, including the Tuinbranche. Supported by the Knowledge Institute Sustainable Packaging (Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken; KIDV), we are working on making packaging more sustainable.