For over 20 years, our terracotta plant pots have been made from almost 100% recycled plastic (polypropylene) raw materials. This is something we know for a long time, but we do not actually communicate about it because it is so self-evident to us.
We say “almost 100%” because 1 to 3% colour is needed to make these black or terracotta coloured pots and this 1 to 3% is usually made with added materials. The pigment is added to a new polypropylene raw material, which is then added to the recycled raw material once it has been made into granules.
The company that contributed to the development of this technique is our supplier ‘Van Krimpen’ from Standdaarbuiten. By using cultivation pots made of recycled plastic, we as a company want to contribute to the use recycled plastic and thus reduce the amount of plastic in general that we use as a company. All the plastic that has no use anymore within our company goes directly to Van Krimpen who processes it into new plant pots. A circular flow to reduce the amount of new plastic!
Picture: examples of “post industrial material”
Plastic waste flows
Until recently, the so-called “post industrial” plastic waste streams were used for these raw materials. This is waste that occurs during the production of all kinds of plastic consumer items, such as: food packaging, diapers, technical products, etc.
In recent years, however, more and more “post-consumer” plastic waste has also been used. This is plastic waste which is collected directly from the consumer through the separation of waste. This is separated on the type of plastic and is then ground, washed and melted into usable granules again. The techniques to separate, wash and re-corrode have been improved so much in recent years that the quality of this flow is certainly as good as that of the “post-industrial material”.
Picture: on the right plastic trays and plant pots. In the middle the ground raw materials and on the left the recycled grains ready for the production of new plant pots.
Collection of waste
In the Netherlands the plastic flow is collected via an organization called NEDVANG (NEDerland Van Afval Naar Grondstof). The collected stream consists of a dozen different kinds of plastic, of which the most important are; PP (polypropylene), PE (poly ethylene) and PET (for the production of soft drink bottles). The collecting is done by the municipalities, and is paid for by packaging taxes. The various types of plastic are separated from each other by means of float/sink, wind shift and infra red techniques, after which they are further ground, washed and re-granulated. In the Netherlands there is NEDVANG, in Belgium the organization is called ‘Frost Plus’ and in Germany ‘Der Grune Punkt’.
Meanwhile currently 60% of all plant pots produced at Van Krimpen are made from post-consumer material, which is about 20% of plastic collected in horticulture and about 20% from post-industrial material. Van Krimpen is in close collaboration with the German Der Grune Punkt to fill in the last 20% with post consumer material.