Less plastic? The floriculture industry has accepted the challenge!19 December 2019
Transport packaging like plastic plant trays are needed to transport our flowers and plants. But we can reuse or recycle them. That way, we can work on reducing our plastic waste. This year, we signed the Plastic Pact. What does that mean exactly? Read about it in this article.
"Plastic is very useful, particularly in our industry," Jacco Duindam (Royal FloraHolland) begins by saying. "We just have to make sure it doesn't end up in the environment. That's why we should find an even better way to handle our transport packaging."
This year, Royal FloraHolland joined the Plastic Pact. We did that along with over 75 other companies and organisations. Reducing plastic is something we cannot do alone. It requires collaboration. We have found that collaboration in the Plastic Pact. "Everyone understands the importance of reducing plastic. Both in and outside of the floriculture industry. Therefore, more and more companies and organisations are participating."
On the right track
Royal FloraHolland has taken on this challenge for its own transport packaging. We have already achieved two of the four objectives set by the Plastic Pact for 2025. We are working hard to achieve the other two. What challenges do we still face?
First, we have to reduce the amount of plastic we use for transport packaging. In 2025, that has to have been reduced by at least 20%. "For our transport packaging, we have three options. We make the plastic plant trays lighter, we use multi-use plant trays more often, or we make plant trays from non-plastic materials," Jacco Duindam explains. Royal FloraHolland will look into the options and advise growers and buyers. "Everyone should make their own decisions. But sharing knowledge shows the effects of your decisions." Furthermore, the prices of multi-use trays and buckets were reduced at the start of 2019. "That encourages growers and buyers to opt for those trays and buckets."
What does the Plastic Pact entail?
And the second challenge? Currently, 50% of our single-use trays are recycled. But we must and can do better. We need to bring that up to 70% in 2025," Jacco says. To do so will require collaboration with other parties. Because once plants are in a supermarket or garden centre, you don't know what happens to the plant trays. "That's what's great about the Plastic Pact. All the major supermarket chains are also participating." Jacco goes on excitedly: "The Plastic Pact is a way to start a conversation with those supermarkets. How can we work together to make sure those single-use plant trays are recycled or to ensure that people opt for multi-use trays?" We are also having that conversation with Tuinbranche Nederland - the association for garden centres. Jacco: "Everyone sees the benefits of sustainability. With the Plastic Pact, we have the same objectives as the supermarkets and the garden centres and we can really accomplish something. That is done e.g. by no longer giving consumers single-use plastic plant trays. That will pay off in any case. Because reusing and recycling these trays also makes money."
Jacco believes many growers and buyers are already reducing their plastic. In his experience, they are motivated to tackle this challenge with both hands. "Usually, it's not a question of whether we should do this, but how. And we are happy to help with that. We really have to do this together. For smart and efficient use of plastic, for a good future."
About Plastic Pact
The Plastic Pact is an initiative of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Arnoud Passenier works as a Programme Manager of Circular Economics at this ministry. He says:
"Many parties were already working to close the plastic cycle.
Connecting those parties will enable us to achieve more in a
shorter amount of time. Now, parties from the whole chain are
participating. That includes packagers and waste disposal
companies, but also all major supermarkets, McDonald's, Starbucks
and Dutch Railways. The big added value of the Plastic Pact is
connecting these parties.
That also applies to the floriculture industry. Growers are a link in the chain. It's hard to accomplish something by yourself. But you can by working together with other links in the chain and by reaching agreements. We are handling our resources in a smarter and more efficient way. Together, we are planting the seeds for an entirely circular economy. This way, we can all work towards a blooming future!"
What about the product packaging we use in the floriculture industry? What will the Plastic Pact objectives mean for things like flower sleeves and plant pots? Royal FloraHolland is working with users to explore the options. Is all the product packaging we use really necessary? And if it is, can we make an industry-wide agreement to only use materials that are fully recyclable? That will enable us to achieve the objective of having 100% reusable materials.