Horticulture Week Business Award - Business Innovation of the Year

Winner - Happy Plants Go Green, Porters Fuchsias

Our industry uses a lot of plastic. In the wake of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet television series, Porters Fuchsias decided to address this issue and introduced its "Happy Plants Go Green" campaign, looking closely at the plastics it used and assessing whether there were alternatives available.

The business has since implemented a number of significant changes that collectively have the potential to drastically reduce its ecological footprint.

In January 2018, Porters began working with Pöppelmann Blue — a non-black, carbon-pigment-free pot made from PCR (post-consumer recycled) polypropylene, reclaimed from kerbside recycling bins. The non-black element allows the recycling machinery to still recognise the pot, greatly increasing the likelihood of the pot getting recycled.

Modiform was about to release its compostable Eco Expert tray, made from sustainably sourced cardboard fibre pulp. Porters combined the two to form its landmark recycling format offered across its 13cm range. Plants were planted in blue pots from February and delivered to garden centres from mid April.

In 2019, Porters introduced printing on its pots that helped get the message across that they can be -recycled. Porters also had barcodes printed, almost eliminating the use of plastic stickers. Both Eco Expert and Pöppelmann Blue are now available in multiple formats, meaning Porters has been able to replace every black pot on the nursery — around three-million a year — and switch 110,000 trays per annum to cardboard fibre alternatives. Where it has not been possible to use a fibre tray, Porters has chosen trays made from recycled drinks bottles (translucent PET), so every tray it sends to a garden centre is kerbside recyclable.

The next step was to commission two new bedding packs, again made from PET. Tests showed the visibility of roots boosted consumer interest. Made from green lemonade bottles, the packs were christened "6UP" and the response has been exceptional.

Porters has also made its 6x9cm carry packs from PET along with the handles, meaning they can be recycled as one unit. The grower is working closely with garden centres to further communicate this message.

In addition, compostable board labels have been introduced to more than 40,000 containers. Together, these measures have led to a reduction of approximately 300 tonnes of plastic used per annum.

HIGHLY COMMENDED 

Poppelmann Blue recycled post consumer material

SPONSOR: DESCH PLANTPAK

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