Which plant trays are most sustainable?

There is a lot to choose from nowadays: reusable, single-use plastic or cardboard plant trays. What is the environmental impact of this packaging? An independent study provides an answer to this question: reusable plant trays are the most sustainable.

In recent years, we have had two independent life cycle analyses (LCA) carried out. These LCAs clearly show how the different trays score on various environmental aspects. The studies are based on the whole life cycle: from production to collection after use. And are tested by an independent panel of experts.

Reusable plant tray most sustainable

What is the most sustainable solution and which tray has the least impact on the environment according to the LCAs? The most sustainable ranking is as follows:

  1. Reusable plant trays
  2. Cardboard plant trays
  3. Single-use plastic trays

Environmental impact per plant tray

The graphic below shows the results of the survey per country with four destinations: Arnhem, Berlin, Paris and London. The final score is the total score from all environmental aspects. The most important environmental aspects of climate change and water consumption can be seen separately. The results differ per country. For each country, collection after use can strongly influence these, such as the amount that is recycled. The way in which a country interprets the energy mix (ratio of coal, gas and nuclear energy) also has a large impact.

Royal floraholland milieu impact plantentrays eng

Opportunities for sustainable plant trays through increased recycling

The studies also show opportunities to make plant trays even more sustainable. More recycling is of particular help for single-use trays. And reusable trays can be made from an even larger proportion of recycled material. This fits in seamlessly with what we have agreed in the Plastic Pact NL. As market leader in transport packaging, we want to do more with less plastic.

Together with our chain partners, we promote the recycling of plant trays. A good example of this is our collaboration with Tuinbranche Nederland. Together we promote the collection of used single use trays from their (retail) members as well as the use of more reusable trays. In addition, in both 2018 and 2019, we reduced the rental rates of reusable plant trays (and flower buckets) to make sustainable packaging more attractive.

Clear tools for sustainable packaging choice

The results of these studies answer questions about plant trays and their sustainability. It gives the users in the chain (suppliers and buyers) the tools to meet their packaging needs as sustainably as possible. By sharing this environmental performance information we make it easier for our customers to choose the right packaging for their products from a sustainability perspective.

More information

Why is recycling of single-use trays so important?
Normpack trays are 100% recyclable. Recycling is not only very important for the sustainability but it is also cheaper!
Report life cycle analysis plant trays 2020
We have had an independent life cycle analysis (LCA) carried out. This LCA makes clear how the various trays (multi-use, cardboard and single-use plastic) score on various environmental themes.
Report life cycle analysis plant trays 2018
We have had an independent life cycle analysis (LCA) carried out. This LCA makes clear how the various trays (multi-use, cardboard and single-use plastic) score on various environmental themes.