AWARD WON: Business Innovation of the Year

Location: Leusden, Holland

EcoExpert retail and industry division manager: Shaun Herdsman

Tell me about your key goals/priorities as a business for 2019.

Having recently launched EcoExpert and spent 2018 experimenting and testing, we will work to expand sales and also the product range by investing in tooling for different trays and pots. The 2019 season will be a big selling year, as all retailers want to get rid of plastics and make sure their materials are recycled.

What do you feel will be the biggest challenge for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2019 – and why?

All the biggest challenges in 2019 will be around plastic. We've done a lot of research on recycling and businesses want answers. It's our job next year to give them those answers. We've gone from a company that sells plant pots and trays to being experts in plastic recycling. As such we are bombarded by questions from the horticulture sector where traditionally everything has been delivered in plastic, so our challenge in 2019 is to deliver.

What do you regard as the biggest opportunity for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2019 – and why?

It's the same as the biggest challenge: plastic. If we can get the right type of plastic for each situation, the opportunities are massive. Our research has honed in on which type of plastic is good for which type of product. Coloured – but non-black - pots will be big as people swing away from black, which cannot be recycled. Bedding packs meanwhile will go from polystyrene to PET.

What was the best thing about winning a Horticulture Week Business Award for you as a business?

It really highlights that what we are doing is right and gives us confidence that our new products will be greeted will in the marketplace as serious alternatives. Even within our company – a 40-year-old plastic producer – not everyone was on board when we introduced new product ideas. This award drives home the message we are without doubt on the right track.


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