Wyevale says growers reluctant to switch over to recyclable trays

Growers are reluctant to use recyclable alternatives to white expanded polystyrene bedding trays, according to Wyevale buyer Mark Moir.

Recyclable plant trays preferred by Wyevale - photo: HW
Recyclable plant trays preferred by Wyevale - photo: HW

Wyevale publicised the end of the bulky polystyrene trays at its Plan Apple launch in Bicester last month. Growers RA Merediths and Chamberlains are growing in recyclable trays that fit 262,000 to a lorry rather than 13,000 white polystyrene trays.

Moir said: "Growers use polystyrene for other customers and the easily recycled ones for us. DIY chains such as B&Q and Homebase are still using white polystyrene.

"I've seen a mixed reaction from some growers. They still don't see the benefit of moving away from expanded polystyrene. They say the pack fits nicely on the shelf and handles well."

Wyevale has cut the use of white polystyrene trays to five per cent this summer and is planning not to use any in 2009.

Merediths began using the recyclable black trays made from non-expanded polystyrene three years ago and it grows the majority of its stock in them.

Merediths production manager Daniel Davies said the trays make a "phenomenal difference in transport costs".

He said: "It is possible to fit six-times the amount of non-expanded polystyrene into the same space as the expanded equivalent. Instead of using six lorries to move the trays between nurseries and customers we are just using the one."

Davies said that because the non-expanded polystyrene bedding trays are thinner, an extra 10-15 per cent can be placed in the same growing space, compared with the white polystyrene trays.

He said another benefit of using the black non-expanded polystyrene trays is that they are made from recycled materials and can be easily recycled, unlike the white polystyrene, "making it much easier for us to adhere to our environmental policy".

Davies added: "My advice to any grower still sceptical of making the change to black non-expanded polystyrene trays, would be to trial them alongside your existing trays and see what difference it makes to the quality of your produce.

"If you are then satisfied that the plants have not suffered simply look at the potential savings you could be making and then ask yourself if you can, in fact, do without them."

Modiform UK supplies the non-expanded polystyrene trays to Merediths and Chamberlains.


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