Tendercare said its Kokowall noise barrier, made of plastic tubes recycled from mobile phones and yoghurt pots, covered in coir and climbing plants, is targeted at motorways, schools and the high-end domestic sector.
Commercial projects sales adviser Gordon Smith said the barriers, mounted on metal frames and up to 8m high, could reduce an 80db motorway to 30db - the level of a quiet dishwasher. Panels are largely maintenance-free and could last 30 years.
"Kokowall can alleviate planning authority or public concerns over developments such as factories by offering an environment-friendly alternative to an otherwise unsightly blot on the landscape," he said.
Managing director Andrew Halksworth added: "Double glazing controls noise inside so why not something for outside? Part of the problem of conventional living walls is 30 per cent of the overall cost is required for maintenance. These need little upkeep."
Halksworth said he is quietly confident the market will pick up this year. High-end domestic work has grown from 40 to 50 per cent of Tendercare's market over the past three years, while work for offices and small-scale housing has dried up.
"But there is evidence the housing sector is slowly reemerging," he said. "The big housebuilders, who are sitting on land, are starting to build again. I'm cautious but things will pick up this year and we can grow 10-12 per cent a year."
See next issue's interview (HW, 29 March).